(ABC4) – According to at least one “concerned citizen,” Utah Governor Spencer Cox could benefit from legally changing his name.
In a tweet shared by the governor on Friday, Cox was sent a letter demanding he change his “foul, dirty and obscene” surname due to the fact that it’s pronounced like a slang term for male genitalia.
Known for a bit of lightheartedness on Twitter, Cox stated he was “really grateful for the criticism and constructive feedback,” before continuing to express his bewilderment at the outrage his “offensive” surname caused — as if it was something he had done intentionally.
Whether the request from the anonymous resident was an attempt at trolling or not, the letter got attention all over the state and even in some parts nationally.
But should Cox feel a need to appease those who take offense at an unintentional innuendo in his name, would it be that difficult to change his name?
That depends on whether he, or anyone else who wishes to change their name, is willing to jump through a few hoops.
According to documents supplied by the Utah Courts, changing a person’s name is a relatively straightforward process. With a small caveat, a person can “choose any name they wish so long as they do not intend to commit a crime or interfere with the rights of others,” with the exception being “something bizarre, unduly lengthy, ridiculous, or offensive to common decency and good taste.” What would fit the bill as bizarre or inappropriate is up to the discretion of the judge presiding at the hearing for the court order.
There are also a couple of qualifiers that would prevent some from getting their names changed. For one, the person must be over 18 and have lived in the county where they are filing the petition for at least one year. You also can’t change your name if you’re in the middle of a lawsuit or are on probation or parole. Child abuse offenders are also barred from changing their names, and a person on the Sex and Kidnap Offender Registry must present a convincing argument that a name change is not against the public interest.
After filling out the appropriate paperwork, which includes checking a box that reads “I do not know any reason why I should not be allowed to change my name” the petitioner appears in court to present their case. Reasons for name change can include marriage, divorce, sex or gender change, or simply a desire for a new name.
If the request is granted, and it very likely would be if all the conditions are met, and the court filing fee is paid, it’s a matter of getting all the appropriate plastic and paperwork switched to the new name. As anyone who has had to replace a credit card or a driver’s license will tell you, this can be a real hassle.
Not only would a person likely need to get a new license or ID, but they’d also have to get a new Social Security card, debit and credit cards, and inform their post office, place of employment, health care provider, utility company, voting registrars, passport officials, as well as friends and family of their new name. The courts also recommend updating legal documents such as power of attorney letters and birth certificates.
While it is very possible, it could be a lot of work for someone to change their name in Utah.
If that mysterious complaint has their way, however, Gov. Cox may have to find himself waiting in line at the DMV for a new ID to match a newer, “less offensive” identify. Until then, as the letter claims, “thousands of Utahns will be sitting in protest, not standing.”