U.S. State Department now allowing same-sex couples to get passports under names recognized by their state through gay marriages or civil unions.

BOSTON — Gay couples can now use their married names on U.S. passports.

The U.S. State Department says it will allow same-sex couples to get passports under the names recognized by their state through marriages or civil unions.

The notice says the change does not mean the department is recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages and civil unions.

Keith Toney says he was turned down in 2007 when he applied for a passport using his married name. The government cited the Defense of Marriage Act prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex partnerships.

He and Al Toney got a letter this week from the Justice Department notifying them of the passport regulation change last month.