style="float: left; margin: 10px 20px 20px 0px;" width="300" />

When Diana Bijon asked her fianc, Michael Buday, to take her last name when they wed last year, he said yes. California said not without a court order and more than $300. So they called the ACLU/SC, which sued to equalize the treatment of men and women when they change their name on a marriage application in this state.

"If you want to set up a system to discourage couples from adopting the name of the wife, this is it," ACLU/SC legal director Mark Rosenbaum told the Los Angeles Times. Only six states explicitly allow husbands to take their wives' names when they marry.

Men must now pay court fees of more than $300 and advertise the name change in a newspaper. Women who choose to take their husband's name when they wed pay only a $50-$80 marriage license fee.

Buday, 29, and Bijon, 28, made the decision to recognize her father's importance in his life. The couple also hopes to extend the Bijon family name into another generation as an expression of her French-American ancestry.

"It's not about the money, it's about the principle of families being able to make their own decisions," said Michael. "Diana's dad has become my father figure, and I want to honor that."

"Thirty years ago many women did not have a choice to keep their own name," said Diana. "We've come a long way, and it's time to recognize men's equal rights to make important family choices."

Stay informed

ACLU of Southern California is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National