Over the past weeks, we have heard from several local women who have faced the challenging task of renewing their West Virginia driver's license. We say challenging because several months ago, the Division of Motor Vehicles in West Virginia adopted strict guidelines on what identification is required for a license renewal.
While men seeking to renew must provide the standard photo identification, birth certificate and two proofs of physical residency, women must dig deeper into the file cabinet, safety deposit box or shoe box that contains important papers and pull forth any and all documents relating to a change of name. That means a marriage license if one changed their name upon marrying. And be advised, it is not the license that the minister so happily signed and handed to you on that blissful day it has to be an official copy from the state (which of course, involves a fee to obtain a copy). Should the blissful day have turned into not so blissful a life and court documents recorded that a divorce was in order, the woman must now provide those documents and a name change order if she chose not to keep the name of the less than ideal husband.
For those women who have, unfortunately or fortunately, whichever the case may be, found bliss with more than one husband, those official records are required for each and every time she has changed her name. In today's society of multiple divorces, this could get quite costly for official documents and sometimes confusing for those who might leave out one of those unhappy occasions.
Should you come into the DMV without one of the required court papers (and don't forget those two proofs of physical address which pose another nightmare in a county full of residents who have post office boxes), after waiting in the line for what could be extensive amounts of time, you will be turned back and told to retrieve those things despite the fact that you have in your hand a West Virginia driver's license that was issued only with the necessary mounds of documentation five years before.
A challenge, to say the least, but one the state may take a closer look at since the issue of discrimination against a woman who must provide so many different documents to prove her identity and somehow show she is not a terrorist has been raised a challenge not faced by the male species as the DMV could care less who they have married.