DeRossi… DeGeneres… Is it DeBateable?

So I read today that Portia De Rossi has officially taken on the name of her husband wife, Ellen De Generes. news reported as follows:

Portia de Rossi has officially taken her partner Ellen Degeneres’ last name.  A Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner granted De Rossi’s request to take the last name of her partner during a closed hearing on Thursday. The actress will now legally be known as Portia Lee James DeGeneres.

The couple was married in August 2008. The 37-year-old Australian-born actress asked for the name change last month. Neither woman attended the hearing. They married during the five-month window in which gay marriage was legal in California.

What a DeBacle! I mean I’m sure they’re both DeLighted, but isn’t this DeCision of theirs a little DePressing? I don’t mean to be DeRogatory, Lesbian marriage is not exactly my DePartment, but I think this could be DeScribed as DeNial. Let’s not be DeLusional here; in this day and age MANY women are DeTermined to keep their own name. And why shouldn’t they?

It’s costly and annoying, which could be enough of a DeTerrant for some…  But there are those that find it DeSirable. Without the shared name they feel DeTached.  

Yet I’m wondering if this is the start of Portia’s DeMise? Did Ellen DeMand it? Was she DeFiant? And if so, why didn’t Portia DeCline? Is she that DeMure? Or is she so DeLeriously in love that she thinks it’s well DeServed.

Okay, enough of that. My spell check is going mental.   Let me now speak freely without the DePlorable use of the letters ‘De. ‘

Now I’m not gay, so perhaps someone who is can explain this to me while I continue to lift my jaw up off the floor. But…. Isn’t a lesbian relationship about 2 women being women who love women?  Isn’t the idea of patriarchal dominance one that might offend gay women?


Here are 2 ladies, successful in their own right, who were lucky enough to seize a brief moment in Californian history by legally marrying. And I get that traditionally with marriage; the woman will often take on the man’s name. ..  But aren’t the confines of traditional marriage something that gays are trying desperately to challenge? And change?

Isn’t it conservatives and traditionalists that are against the very idea of 2 women legally marrying?

Bowl me over with a marshmallow, but isn’t this name changing bizzo basically telling the world…. Portia is the woman… and Ellen is the MAN!!!???

I mean just look at what they wore on their wedding day and it’s fairly apparent that Ellen is in possession of slightly more masculine qualities. Actually I think I would have been more shocked to see Ellen wearing a dress than I was to hear they were getting hitched.


But again – someone explain this to me because I just don’t get it. WHY BOTHER?

Perhaps my personal resentment at changing my own name is what’s really hindering my understanding of this. If I could have kept my own name I would have. (I think). I say that like my husband is a controlling male chauvinist Nazi which he is not. But we did agree that I would do so prior to having children.

I love the idea of my children being connected in name to both him and me. And before we start listing all the other options available, like hyphenation and blending both names to create a new one… Forget it. I was not interested. I guess I’m traditional in some ways, and when it comes to family, I certainly am.

So when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby I started the process and it was expensive and annoying and time consuming. But that isn’t what bothered me.

I have blogged before about the importance of names.  Your name (first and last) becomes your brand. It’s how people know you, how they remember you. Over a period of 33 years, my names are how I was recognised. To change part of that was perplexing. I didn’t want to change my signature. Nor the name that appeared on my business card. 

The fact is it didn’t matter because I wasn’t exactly going to be handing out business cards at Mother’s Group.. and I didn’t know it at the time, but most of the people that knew me before changing my name, either knew me well enough to not need a ‘name’ to recognise me by, or would eventually cease to be in my life once the baby came.

But hello? NOBODY in Hollywood changes their name because in LALA land, that is precisely how you get work. By becoming a brand, and having a recognisable name. For example:

  • Katie Cruise? No, Katie Holmes.
  • Angelina Pitt? No, Angelina Jolie.
  • Nicole Urban? No, Nicole Kidman.
  • Catherine Douglas. Who’s that? Ooohhh, you mean Zeta Jones!


Portia De Generes. Of course we all still know precisely who it is. But now she is (in my opinion) defining herself by her partner. She is telling the world, “When you think of me – think of Ellen.” Now isn’t that a no-no in Hollywood, or is it insignificant to the public because we do it anyway. Like Katie Holmes. She doesn’t need his sir name for all of us to think “that poor woman, being married to a schizo.”

I guess it’s not our business. It just surprised me and I found myself questioning the WHY.  (Sigh) For whatever reason, both Ellen and Portia seem like lovely people. 

 Perhaps it just DePends on the individual couple – Gay or not!  It’s for them to DeCide. Either way I am done DeLiberating over it.



  1. sonj · October 1, 2010

    When I talk about my friends who are now married, and some have been for over 10 years, i still refer to them with their maiden name because when I met them they were either still children, or still single ! do you think that’s wierd, or does everyone do that? I’m sure I’m still Bedrich to everyone I knew back in my single days. In Italy they always have both surnames on the doorbell thingy. I never quite understood if they keep their maiden names or what. Actually I might ask Spinelli ( maiden name) ha ha

  2. Laura C · October 1, 2010

    In my personal opinion, it just goes to show you that even a gay couple feels the need to recognise a natural order of things. Not that it’s natural for a woman to take a mans name, more that they feel the need to recognise & define a masculine & feminine role in the relationship. Which begs the question … why do you want to be gay? If you’re a girl who likes girls … why do you want to find a way to keep a masculine vibe in the relationship? Aren’t you attracted to their feminine side? And why do boys who like boys all of a sudden get high pitched voices, better fashion sense & suddenly love musicals? Since I’m not gay, I don’t understand … and for some reason, the handful of gay people I know or are related to never explain this reasoning to me! I’m so confused!!

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