A court has overturned Italy’s tradition of giving a child his father’s last name. The country’s constitutional court to rule Wednesday that both parents should be able to choose their child’s nickname.
The court said in a statement that the current practice of using the father’s last name was “discriminatory and harmful to the identity” of the child. According to Reuters. The court said children should be given the parents’ surname – in the order the parents decide – unless the parents agree to use only one surname.
The Italian government has to draw up and adopt new legislation in order to implement the court’s decision, according to Reuters.
In the United States, each state has its own rules regarding the names on the birth certificate. Many states require two names—the first name and the last name—and some states require that when parents marry at the time of their child’s birth, the father’s surname is used, according to usbirthcertificates.com, which collects information on state birth certificate laws. In Mississippi, the child automatically takes the paternal surname when the parents marry, but a different name can be requested.
Meanwhile, other states allow a child to take the mother’s maiden name, subject to parental consent, according to usbirthcertificates.com.
Italy’s Minister of Family and Equal Opportunities, Elena Bonetti, wrote about the legislation on Facebook, saying the government would fully support the court’s decision.
“Today we change the picture: we recognize equal dignity and equal responsibility, even to parents, to both parents,” Bonetti books. “There is a clear and strong signal that reaffirms that the choice of our constitution is the choice of a democracy that can only be said to have been achieved in the face of full access to gender equality.”
Italian legislator Cecilia Delia chirp Regarding the decision, saying that mothers will be given the same “dignity of the father, the mark of civilization.”