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Court Discusses Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation


This is a case involving an application for Gena M. Daniels to change her name to Gena M. Zaks. The petitioner is being represented by Yetta G. Kurland from New York City. The case is being heard by Judge Paul G. Feinman.


The petitioner, Gena M. Daniels, is seeking to changer her name pursuant to the Civil Rights Law, article 6. She wishes to change her last name to that of her same – sex life partner.

Case Discussion

A New York DWI Lawyer said the partner of the petitioner has given consent to the application for the name change to occur. This consent was performed before a notary public. Under common law a person may assume any name as long as it is not a fraudulent act or interferes with the rights of other people. The Civil Rights Law under article 6 allows for a formal procedure to occur for a name change and provides that the process be fast, definite, and recorded. Additionally, the right to change your name under Article 6 is given to both children and adults. Children must petition through a parent or a guardian. The petition for a name change must include the name, date, and place of birth, age, and residence of the person who is seeking a name change along with the name he/she wishes to change their name to. Additionally, a person must provide information of whether they have ever been convicted of a crime, if they have ever declared bankruptcy, and if there are any actions or judgments against them. A birth certificate or equivalent must be provided with the application.

Often times, parental and marital status is associated with access to several privileges, rights, and benefits in our society and published cases of name changes tend to focus on whether or not the change will confuse or cause conflict with the parental or marital status of a person.

This decisional issue in the matter of the law typically reflects relationships of unmarried individuals including unwed mothers that change their child’s surname to that of the man with which they live or for a woman that wants to change her name to her lover’s that she is not free to marry.

For this particular petition, there are no children involved. A New York DWI Lawyer said the petition concerns a grown adult who wishes to change her last name to that of her life partner of the same sex. Her life partner has consented to this name change. For this reason, the court only needs to consider the factors of potential fraud, misrepresentation, or interference with another individual’s life.

A recent name change case in New Jersey was denied on the basis that by allowing the individual to assume the last name of her same sex partner was the same as approving of gay marriage as it would be assumed that the couple was married.

In the state of New York, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is outlawed. A Nassau County DWI Lawyer said for these reasons, in this case the court feels that public policy considerations are appropriate and granting the name change would be consistent with public policy.

Court Decision

The court sees no reason for the name change to be denied and for that reason is granting the petition in favor of the petitioner and the name change is granted and recorded.

If you are in need of legal advice contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates. Our offices are located throughout the metropolitan area of Manhattan for your convenience. You may call us at any time to set up an appointment for your free consultation. Our lawyers will be happy to discuss your legal case with you and determine the appropriate steps to take.

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