Bill allowing spouses to keep last name as part of middle name passes N.D. Legislature
BISMARCK - What's in a name? In North Dakota, it may soon be more in the middle and less at the end. State senators unanimously approved a bill Thursday that will allow someone getting married to take on their spouse's last name while still keepi...
BISMARCK – What’s in a name? In North Dakota, it may soon be more in the middle and less at the end.
State senators unanimously approved a bill Thursday that will allow someone getting married to take on their spouse’s last name while still keeping both their own middle name and surname – all without having to use a hyphenated last name.
Sen. Jonathan Casper, R-Fargo, who carried House Bill 1183, explained it this way: If Mary Anne Smith marries Sam Johnson, she will be able to take Johnson as her last name and keep Anne Smith as her middle name. So, her full name would be Mary Anne Smith Johnson or Mary Anne-Smith Johnson, as opposed to Mary Anne Smith-Johnson.
Casper said the Senate Judiciary Committee, which gave the bill a 6-0 do-pass recommendation, heard testimony that some wanted the change because it would allow them to maintain their identity and was simpler than having a hyphenated last name.
“The committee didn’t see any issues with that, thought it seemed reasonable,” he said.
Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, said that as someone with a hyphenated last name – it’s legally Hill-Oban – she appreciated the effort because when she applied for a marriage license, she was told she couldn’t keep all four of her names without a hyphen.
“So kudos to the bill’s sponsors and the committee’s recommendation,” she said.
The bill breezed through the House 90-0 in January and now awaits the governor’s signature to become law. It was introduced by Rep. Thomas Beadle, R-Fargo, and co-sponsored by four Republicans and two Democrats.