I can’t begin to tell you how absolutely disgusted I am with that right wing Republican Judge in Oklahoma.
Judge Bill Graves is a first class right wing jerk who should be removed from the bench without retirement benefits or severance pay.
He violates every judicial ethic requirement that exists.
The bench requires Judges to not only sit in judgement but to impartially administer such legal processes as name changes.
If I go before a Judge with the request to change my name to say “Rainbow Starchild” and the Judge thinks that is a silly hippie name and I am frivolous for changing my name to that he or she may ask me if I am certain I wish to do this. But that Judge can not say, “I hate hippies and therefore am not going to legally change your name to some hippie fantasy name.”
I actually thought transsexual and transgender people’s fights for the right to change our names ended some thirty years ago. It seems totally anachronistic to have to refight these battles, because a bunch of Christo-Fascist Republican bigots have decided transsexual and transgender people are the new battle front in the right wing war on LGBT/T people.
Now there are some HBS assholes out there who would actually side with this judge. These pathological bigots think my taking a human rights/civil rights stand on the rights of all people means I’m not really transsexual. This is funny since I’m forty years post-op, but their bigotry trummps their ability to think clearly.
If all one can see is identity and identity group solidarity then we wind up totally lacking in empathy for anyone outside our particular group.
It doesn’t matter what that group is.
We see it in the Mitt Romney and his friend among the Neo-Nazis who gathered last week in an orgy of racism and bigotry. We also see the same sort of bigotry among the Jennifer Ushers and other highly dubious sisters of transsexual purity.
People have a right to change their names in this country. Various states have different papers and procedures but in so far as I know every state has a procedure for changing one’s name legally.
There are certain names generally names of rich or famous people which are off limits as it is presumed that changing ones name to one of those names could be an attempt to confuse and capitalize on the other person’s fame or access to wealth.
Some states notably California used to permit a person to have two different names on their driver’s license/state ID card. I know this because of actor friends who had to use different professional last names due to their name already being in use by another actor.
This brings us back to legally changing one’s name.
While the procedure may vary it generally includes filing of paper work and publicly posting a legal notice of intent which informs credit bureaus and creditors of your intent to legally change your name.
The court appearance is generally pro forma with no one objecting and with the Judge simply signing and stamping a seal on the petition.
Then you have to do all the rest of the leg work of informing all who are relevant including the official issuer of identification i.e. driver’s license/state ID of your name change.
This isn’t supposed to be a matter where a Judge gets to interject his or her opinion, as the Judge is acting as an agent of the court, and is merely reviewing the papers and any claims as to why the petitioner should not be issued a change of name.
This is especially not an area where a Judge should be allowed to interject his religious opinion or base his refusal on religion.
A civil court is a secular institution and Judge Bill Graves is sitting on the bench of a circuit court. He is not Torquemada and his court room is not an instrument of any church. He is not an Imam and we do not practice Sharia in the United States, be that Sharia the Muslim version or the radical right wing Christian version.
If Judge Graves is unwilling to accord people their Constitutionally guaranteed equal rights then he should step down or face censure.
We are a secular society where people are not required to live under the mythology of any religion.