last name debate in quebec

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Pride for Red D...
last name debate in quebec

 

Pride for Red D...

there's a story about a woman in Quebec right now who's just gotten married and wants to take her husbands name , but she can't because it's illegal. This was done some 30 years ago apparently because it was a) considered a good tradition to abolish by feminists and b) the government got tired of the cost of all these name changes.
Shouldn't the choice to take your spouse s's (male or female) name be a matter of choice ? Personally I would never do it because taking (in my case) a man's name seems like labeling me as his possession as opposed to being party to a long term partnership. It makes me think of a coffee cup in the office labeled "john's cup" or something.
If feminism is about being able to make choices, then would feminists legislate its abolition?

Maysie Maysie's picture

Your question so peaked my interest, PFRD, that I googled "marriage name change Quebec" and this is what I found:

quote:

Spouses' names

Both spouses keep their birth names after marriage and continue to exercise their civil rights under that name, i.e. they must use their birth name in contracts, on credit cards, on their driver's licence, etc. However, women are free however to assume their husband's name socially. Women married before April 2, 1981 who already use their husband's last name to exercise their civil rights may continue to do so.


[url=http://www.justice.gouv.qc.ca/english/publications/generale/maria-a.htm#... govt page re all things related to marriage[/url]

I'm shocked I didn't break out in hives just by going to that site, but that's a whole other thread topic. [img]smile.gif" border="0[/img]

Of course, since we live in a patriarchy, women have the names of our fathers. A few years back I considered changing my last name to my mom's last name (she went back to her "maiden" name ([i]damn, deconstruct THAT[/i]) after she got divorced. She was married way before 1981) but realized that's my not-so-wonderful grandfather's name. Women are owned by someone, always, it seems. But in the act of getting married, keeping the name we're born with, a way that works automatically for men, makes a lot of sense to me.

And feminism is about many many things other than choice. Choice framed as the do-all and end-all of what feminism is a huge problem, IMV.

Michelle

bcg, you could make your mother's FIRST name your last name. I heard of a professor (I forget her name now!) who did this. I thought that was kind of neat. Then, if you have kids, you can give your last name to your daughters, and the father's last name to your sons. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] (I know this is heterosexist - not sure what you'd do in the case of two women or two men.)

I thought it was always tradition in Quebec for women to keep their last names. Some of the most patriarchal societies on earth have the tradition of the woman keeping her last name (although, as bcg points out, the woman's last name is her father's last name so she's always "owned" by someone). Iran comes to mind. Women keep their own last names there, so they keep their father's last names, while their children take on their husbands' last names.

For me, I changed my name when I got married (would never do it again, and I'd do it differently if I had to do it over again). My reasoning was that I wanted to have the same last name as any children I might have. I know, there are other solutions to that, but that's the one I chose. I mean, it was the choice between taking on my husband's last name and having the same last name as my kids, or keeping my father's last name (or doing some sort of combination of my father's name and my husband's name) and having a different last name than my kids. Or putting up a futile fight to keep my father's last name and giving my father's last name to my kids?

I just figured that taking my husband's last name was the easiest way to have the same last name as my kid[s]. So I did it.

When I first heard about the feminist professor who changed her last name to her mother's given name, I thought that was really neat, and thought it would be a great statement to make. But not for me, for practical reasons. First of all, I'm not in any way estranged from any of my family and I get along with everyone very well, but that could go some way to MAKING it happen. [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] Secondly, I like my last name, have no bad associations with it, love my father, and it would be way too much trouble for me to try to explain why I would, at this stage of my life, reject his name and take on my mother's.

If I were ever to take an action like this, then probably what I'd do is do it for my kids first. So, if I had a daughter, perhaps I'd give her a given name, and make her last name my mother's given name, and she could start the tradition and pass that name to her daughters, etc. That way I don't have to change the name I'm used to having, and she would grow up with her last name and be used to it.

[ 10 August 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

[ 10 August 2007: Message edited by: Michelle ]

Sven Sven's picture

I knew a couple in college who, when they got married, changed their last name to something completely new. I thought that was pretty cool.

Having the government, like Quebec, tell you what you MUST use as your last name is a great example of where the government should fuck off.

Michelle

I don't think they tell you that you have to. I think they just make you pay if you want to change it, isn't that right?

Sven Sven's picture

I don't know what the actual law says. The web site says: "Both spouses keep their birth names after marriage and continue to exercise their civil rights under that name, i.e. they [b][i]must[/b][/i] use their birth name in contracts, on credit cards, on their driver's licence, etc."

If a person could simply change their name by paying a fee, then it would seem to be contrary to that directive quoted above. But, again, I don't know what the actual black-n-white law says.

Michelle

Anyone can change their name if they pay a fee, I should think.

There are rules in Ontario too, about marital name changes. You can "assume" your husband's name, in which case you can change documents like your driver's license and health card and utility bills by showing your marriage certificate, but your birth certificate doesn't change. That's what I did (thank goodness!). That's free.

Or, you can actually CHANGE your name, in which case your birth certificate changes as well. I didn't do that because I thought it was stupid to change my birth certificate to my married name - I was born with my maiden name!

If, on the other hand, you want to change your name to something completely different than your own or your husband's name, then I think you have to pay a fee. Anyone can change their name, as far as I know.

I'm not absolutely positive about people being allowed to change their name in Quebec, but I can't imagine that name changes aren't allowed.

Hey, you know what's really weird? When I was filling out the forms for my son's birth certificate, he HAD to have either my last name or my husband's. If you want to name your kid something else, you have to send in an explanation and apply to do so, and I think the reason has to be along the lines of some sort of cultural tradition. I'm not positive about that, as it's been almost 9 years since I filled out the form, but that's how I remember it.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Hey, you know what's really weird? When I was filling out the forms for my son's birth certificate, he HAD to have either my last name or my husband's. If you want to name your kid something else, you have to send in an explanation and apply to do so, and I think the reason has to be along the lines of some sort of cultural tradition. I'm not positive about that, as it's been almost 9 years since I filled out the form, but that's how I remember it.[/b]

When Frank Zappa’s eldest son was born, he and his wife, Gail, wanted to name the son “Dweezil”. The hospital refused. So, Frank and Gail randomly wrote down some “normal” names and their son’s birth certificate read: Ian Donald Calvin Euclid Zappa!! The hospital accepted that.

The family continued to call him “Dweezil” when he was growing up and when “Dweezil” became an adult, he had his name legally changed to Dweezil.

Pride for Red D...

I agree bcg- feminism is about more than choice or simply doing what you want, its about reconfiguring our society (ie patriarchy) so that women have the choice or freedom to fullfill their potential and not be opressed by the physical category they just happen to fall in to. But that's a whole other potentially very long discussion, and the above is rather general.
As to changing your name in quebec, you can do it but there has to be good reasons for it-

quote:

It requires a serious reason, such as difficulty of use due to spelling or pronunciation, or bearing a name that is mocked or that has been made infamous.


[url=http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=fc11876a-804c-40cd...
I've met people who simply have both last names of their parents- this is an easy solution. Why would it be important for a woman to have the same last name as her children- a feeling of unity ?

[ 10 August 2007: Message edited by: Pride for Red Dolores ]

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by Pride for Red Dolores:
[b]I agree bcg- feminism is about more than choice or simply doing what you want, its about reconfiguring our society (ie patriarchy) so that women have the choice or freedom to fullfill their potential and not be opressed by the physical category they just happen to fall in to. But that's a whole other potentially very long discussion, and the above is rather general. [/b]

What a sec. First you say, “feminism is about more than [b][i]choice[/b][/i] or simply doing what you want” but then you say “its about reconfiguring our society (ie patriarchy) so that women have the [b][i]choice[/b][/i] or freedom to fullfill their potential and not be opressed by the physical category they just happen to fall in to.” The second quotation underscores the vital importance of having choice.

Having choices means having autonomy.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In BC they have de-gendered the the law on name changes at marriage.

The choices are: keep the name that you had when married, revert to your birth name or take the name of your spouse.

None of the above requires a legal change of name but does require the onerous task of getting every piece of ID and credit cards, etc etc changed over by filing out forms for every single thing that you use your name for.

It means that for instance a man can legally take his spouses birth name as his last name or vice versa. The non-gender specific terminology is of course appropriate because we now finally have legal same sex marriage.

It would even allow for one spouse to revert to their birth name if they had been divoreced but never changed their name back previously and for the other spouse to then use their spouses last name.

[url=http://www.cba.org/BC/public_media/family/161.aspx]CBA explanation[/url]

If you want a totally new name or hyphenated name then you would need to apply for a change of name and pay the fee and then contact all the ID etc places.

torontoprofessor

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]Then, if you have kids, you can give your last name to your daughters, and the father's last name to your sons.[/b]

A friendly ammendment: give the father's last name to the daughters and the mother's last name to the sons. This way, in time, ancestral identification will cut across the genders.

An alternative is either to dispense with family names altogether, or for married couples to devise their own new names as did Sven's college acquaintances. I knew a couple who chose the name "Gandhi", in honour of Mohandas K.

ceti ceti's picture

This is the whole thing with Singh and Kaur for the Sikhs, do destroy such hierarchies. Pretty advanced for a 500 year old religion.

But really it didn`t change that much. I think the Quebec law is perfectly fine, if only for bureaucratic efficiency.

Then again, some couples call each other their con-joints. It sounds even worse in French with a Quebecois accent.

Pride for Red D...

conjoint sounds perfectly ordinary to me - it sort of means legal significant other, or co-spouse. Joint means attached. Its a perfectly correct term in French.

MegB

I've never considered my last name to be anything but mine. Sure, it was my father's last name, and my mother was conventional enough to take his name when they married, but regardless of where it came from, it's my name.

In the months leading up to our Big Wedding Thing, I was continually asked, by people who knew me fairly well no less, "so, are you keeping your own name?"

This struck me as a bizarre question. It's like asking an environmentalist whether their next car will be a fully-loaded Cadillac Escalade, or a consumer activist whether they will be shopping at The Gap from now on.

Well, of course I'm keeping my name. It is, after all, mine, and has been for about 45 years. And yes, my husband is keeping his name too (and no, he was not asked).

I tell ya, you do one thing in a remotely conventional way, and people think it's like a religious conversion.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by ceti:
[b]Then again, some couples call each other their con-joints. It sounds even worse in French with a Quebecois accent.[/b]

Not sure if you're being sarcastic, but I call refer to "ma conjointe" and she says "mon conjoint", and it's an absolutely standard usage in Quйbec for many years now. Either you don't speak French or you don't visit Quйbec much.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Pride for Red Dolores:
[b]If feminism is about being able to make choices, then would feminists legislate its abolition?[/b]

I never understood feminism as being about "being able to make choices". I thought it was about eliminating every vestige of discrimination and oppression of women and achieving equality irrespective of sex.

The law in Quйbec was an extremely progressive one, designed to eliminate the by-default de-personalization of women upon marriage, as part of the Quiet Revolution, while still allowing women to shed their name and adopt some man's name if they really chose to.

If feminism were just about "choice", then feminists would declare victory if women "chose" to be domestic workers and adopt their husbands' names and stroll barefoot and pregnant around the kitchen. Feminism actively combats the socio-politico-economic status quo that imposes these allegedly "free choices" on women and girls.

MegB

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b] If feminism were just about "choice", then feminists would declare victory if women "chose" to be domestic workers and adopt their husbands' names and stroll barefoot and pregnant around the kitchen. [/b]

Oh dear. Another man telling us what feminism is and isn't. Whatever shall we do?

You know, lots of women, and men, would like to stay at home with the kids and be responsible for all things domestic. For most of us, economic reality doesn't allow it.

Women, statistically still making about 79 cents on every dollar earned by a man, often make just enough to make it worth while to pay out most of their salary on daycare and the clothing and transportation costs associated with working outside the home. Now THAT's having your choices narrowed by economic disparity.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]I never understood feminism as being about "being able to make choices". I thought it was about eliminating every vestige of discrimination and oppression of women and achieving equality irrespective of sex.[/b]

Well of course feminism is about choices, at least in part. If a person does not have any choice about something and that something is, instead, dictated to the person, the person has no autonomy over that part of her or his life.

Now, one might argue that as long as you strip a choice away from men and women equally, you are taking a “feminist position” (no gender discrimination). And, that may be true, as far as gender discrimination goes. But, over personal matters, I err on the side of more choice, for both men and women.

quote:

Originally posted by unionist:
[b]The law in Quйbec was an extremely progressive one, designed to eliminate the by-default de-personalization of women upon marriage, as part of the Quiet Revolution, while still allowing women to shed their name and adopt some man's name if they really chose to. [/b]

Does the law permit that? From the link supplied, it states that a married person “must” use their given name.

quote:

Originally posted by unionist:
[b]If feminism were just about "choice", then feminists would declare victory if women "chose" to be domestic workers and adopt their husbands' names and stroll barefoot and pregnant around the kitchen. Feminism actively combats the socio-politico-economic status quo that imposes these allegedly "free choices" on women and girls.[/b]

Well, when you use “choice” like that in quotes, you are implying (or, at least, I’m inferring) that you really mean the choice is illusory. But, I think you denigrate [b][i]real[/b][/i] choices women make that may be viewed as traditional or patriarchal, such as electing to stay home and raise children while the husband works or, dare I say, take her husband’s last name. To put it charitably, it strikes me as patronizing to tell women that they are too stupid to make that choice on their own and the government has to make the “correct” choice for them.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Rebecca West:
[b]Women, statistically still making about 79 cents on every dollar earned by a man, often make just enough to make it worth while to pay out most of their salary on daycare and the clothing and transportation costs associated with working outside the home. Now THAT's having your choices narrowed by economic disparity.[/b]

Look, I don't want to be a man telling women what feminism is, but the 79 cents gap is a key example of the inequality that all progressive people, including feminists, combat. That's why I said it's about equality. Fight inequality (social, economic, political), and choice becomes real rather than theoretical.

In any event, Rebecca, the only reason for my intervention was to explain that the Quйbec law was progressive, pro-woman, and a step out of the dark ages of pre-Quiet Revolution. I was surprised at the opening post which seemed to paint the law as removing choice from women, where in fact the obvious intent was to say: "When you get married, the government will no long treat you as inferior to men - you keep your name unless you choose to change it."

Sven Sven's picture

[url=http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070810/quebec_marr... Choice[/url]

quote:

From Linked Article:
[b]"It was seen as extremely progressive at the time," said Robert Leckey, who teaches family law at McGill University.

"I don't think feminists of the day imagined that 25 years later people would be complaining that they don't have the choice to be traditional."

[snip]

"There is a choice in terms of what you're using socially but there are no options when it comes to legal recourse."[/b]


Stephen Gordon

Huh. From the article:

quote:

In Quebec, women are sometimes allowed to have their name changed, but the director of civil status must give approval. Reasons to grant the change include names that are difficult to spell or pronounce, or names that are mocked or that have been made infamous.

Anyone know if that is only for women (one would hope not)?

I had been under the impression that the barriers were the same as the ones I'd face if I wanted to change my name to John Smith (eta: They are: I can't). But this looks as though name changes are not just a hassle, they're simply not allowed.

eta: [url=http://www.etatcivil.gouv.qc.ca/en/change-name.html]The rules for changing one's name[/url]

quote:

Changing your given name or surname is somewhat like adopting a new identity. It is a significant act. This is why there must be a [b]serious reason[/b] for seeking a name change.

(emphasis in the original)

It would appear that 'because I feel like it' doesn't count as a sufficient reason.

[ 13 August 2007: Message edited by: Stephen Gordon ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
[b]Anyone know if that is only for women (one would hope not)?[/b]

The law is exactly the same for men and women, as far as I can see - and it took Quйbec society a long time to get there.

The 1981 amendment reads as follows:

quote:

Article 393. In marriage, both spouses retain their respective names and exercise their civil rights under those names.

And I never heard of anyone challenging it until Ms. Parent came along (from your link) and said:

quote:

"One day we're going to start a family and I would love to share the same name as my future children," she told CTV News.

She appears to be unaware of the fact that she and her spouse can choose to name their kids after either parent, or both. I guess she believes kids automatically take their father's name!! Not in Quйbec. The decision is up to the parents.

If they disagree, the child is given a hyphenated name:

quote:

52. En cas de dйsaccord sur le choix du nom de famille, le directeur de l'йtat civil attribue а l'enfant un nom composй de deux parties provenant l'une du nom de famille du pиre, l'autre de celui de la mиre, selon leur choix respectif.

Yes, it's true that you can't just change your name in Quйbec at will. No one can. There has to be a "serious reason", according to law, but the article very cleverly omits one of them. Here is the Code Civil article:

quote:

58. Le directeur de l'йtat civil a compйtence pour autoriser le changement de nom pour un motif sйrieux dans tous les cas qui ne ressortissent pas а la compйtence du tribunal; il en est ainsi, notamment, [b]lorsque le nom gйnйralement utilisй ne correspond pas а celui qui est inscrit dans l'acte de naissance[/b], que le nom est d'origine йtrangиre ou trop difficile а prononcer ou а йcrire dans sa forme originale ou que le nom prкte au ridicule ou est frappй d'infamie.

So, if Ms. Parent chooses to adopt her husband's surname in ordinary social usage, she can then apply to change her name legally with no obstacle [b]WHATSOEVER[/b], under the bolded portion of the above clause.

This whole story is a farce.

ETA: Sorry, for non-Francophones, let me explain. The law gives three examples of "serious reasons" for name change: 1. When the name generally used by the person isn't the same as on their birth certificate (which would be the case for any woman wishing to adopt her husband's name, or vice versa for that matter). 2. When the name is of foreign origin or too difficult to pronounce. 3. When the name lends itself to ridicule or has some notoriety attached to it.

[ 13 August 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]

Stephen Gordon

So now the question is: why can't I change my name to John Smith if I wish?

Sven Sven's picture

Unionist, if a person can, without restriction, change their name (legally) to the name used socially, then what about the apparent directive that a married person must use their given name for legal purposes? The unrestricted right you describe seems to be directly at odds with that directive. And, if that unrestricted right existed, then why might Caroline Parent believe she is prevented from changing her name to the name she wants? Is she (and, presumably, her lawyer) simply mistaken?

Stephen Gordon

No, she's not. Unfortunately for her, 'Caroline Parent' is a perfectly normal name, one that is neither difficult to pronounce nor does it invite ridicule. No matter how many forms she'd be willing to fill out, or fees she'd be willing to pay, she can't change her name.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Sven:
[b]Unionist, if a person can, without restriction, change their name (legally) to the name used socially, then what about the apparent directive that a married person must use their given name for legal purposes?[/b]

Just read the two sections I quoted.

Section 393 says both spouses keep their original names.

Section 58 says you can change your name if "the name generally used does not correspond to the name on the birth certificate".

My conclusion is that if a married person generally uses a name other than the one on their birth certificate, they can lawfully change their name correspondingly.

It does [b]not[/b] mean that Stephen Gordon can change his name to John Smith without "serious reason". But whether the ability to change one's name on a whim should be considered as a "fundamental human right" is quite a separate debate. All I know is that it is not considered as a human right either in Canada or under any international law.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]Section 58 says you can change your name if "the name generally used does not correspond to the name on the birth certificate".[/b]

I’m working at a bit of a disadvantage by not being able to read the actual statutes, but the provision you cited, unionist, appears not to be a law relating to general changes of one’s name but to changing the name of a child.

ETA: Besides, if it was that easy to change one's name after marriage, that name-change right would completely eviscerate the law that a person, upon marriage, must retain, for legal purposes, the last name given to them at birth. Either there is no such obligation to retain one's birth name or it is not that easy to change one's last name. It cannot be both!

More generally, other than a significant difference in magnitude, it seems like telling a woman that she cannot choose to adopt her husband’s name when she gets married isn’t that different, [b][i]in principle[/b][/i], than telling a woman she cannot choose to stay at home and raise her children and must, instead, join the workforce with her husband.

The purported reason for telling a woman she cannot chose her husband’s last name is to attempt to wipe out a historical practice (taking a husband’s last name) that many view as patriarchal. If that’s logical and appropriate, then shouldn’t the government also prohibit situations where mothers stay at home and fathers go to work outside of the home—something that could also legitimately be viewed as patriarchal—both to destroy that patriarchal practice as well as to enforce gender equality? Besides, if 99% of stay-at-home parents are women, isn’t that far more detrimental to gender equality than the issue of one’s last name? The latter may be quite symbolic but the practice of women staying home with the kids presents a much more significant and real barrier to gender equality.

I’m sure one could put together a long list of similar practices that should likewise be stamped out by legislative fiat, all in the name of creating gender equality and destroying a patriarchal practice, but all the while crushing freedom to choose.

[ 13 August 2007: Message edited by: Sven ]

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]The law in Quйbec was an extremely progressive one, designed to eliminate the by-default de-personalization of women upon marriage, as part of the Quiet Revolution, while still allowing women to shed their name and adopt some man's name if they really chose to. [/b]

If this were in fact the case, I think the law would make perfect sense (i.e., no [b][i]automatic[/b][/i] change of the woman’s name to her husband’s name upon marriage—instead, the woman would have to affirmatively elect to change her name to her husband’s name). And, perhaps that is the case. But from the links posted here that specifically relate to a person’s legal last name post-marriage, it doesn’t appear to be the case (instead, it appears there is an outright prohibition on adopting one’s spouse’s last name—and hence the Caroline Parent complaint).

Stephen Gordon

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
It does [b]not[/b] mean that Stephen Gordon can change his name to John Smith without "serious reason". But whether the ability to change one's name on a whim should be considered as a "fundamental human right" is quite a separate debate. All I know is that it is not considered as a human right either in Canada or under any international law.

That's setting the bar kinda low, isn't it? How could my changing my name to John Smith be a threat to the well-being of Quebec society?

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Sven:
[b]But from the links posted here that specifically relate to a person’s legal last name post-marriage, it doesn’t appear to be the case (instead, it appears there is an outright prohibition on adopting one’s spouse’s last name—and hence the Caroline Parent complaint).[/b]

I note you use the word "appears" quite a lot, and you are correct to do so. You know little about Caroline Parent except that she has quite willingly become the object of scandal in CanWest. You don't even know if she has applied to change her name to her husband's name, nor do I.

We do know that the reason she gave is that she wants to have the same last name as her (as yet unborn) children. Obviously, the idea of naming the children after the mother - perfectly legal in Quйbec - or after both parents - never crossed her mind.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
[b]
How could my changing my name to John Smith be a threat to the well-being of Quebec society?[/b]

People who wanted to heap accolades on your economic theory might have a harder time finding you.

Sven Sven's picture

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]

People who wanted to heap accolades on your economic theory might have a harder time finding you.[/b]


[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Sven:
[b]
I’m working at a bit of a disadvantage by not being able to read the actual statutes, but the provision you cited, unionist, appears not to be a law relating to general changes of one’s name but to changing the name of a child.[/b]

You're mistaken, and I appreciate the difficulty given the linguistic disadvantage. This section has nothing to do with children; it applies to everyone:

quote:

DIVISION III

CHANGE OF NAME

§ 1. — General provision

57. No change may be made to a person's name, whether of his surname or given name, without the authorization of the registrar of civil status or the court, in accordance with the provisions of this section.

1991, c. 64, a. 57.

§ 2. — Change of name by way of administrative process

58. The registrar of civil status has competence to authorize a change of name for a serious reason in every case that does not come under the jurisdiction of the court, and in particular where the name generally used does not correspond to that appearing in the act of birth, where the name is of foreign origin or too difficult to pronounce or write in its original form or where the name invites ridicule or has become infamous.

The registrar also has competence where a person applies for the addition to the surname of a part taken from the surname of the father or mother, as declared in the act of birth.


Sorry, I didn't have a link to the [url=http://www.canlii.org/qc/laws/sta/ccq/20070717/whole.html]English version[/url] handy earlier.

Stephen Gordon

Hilarity aside, it's not at all clear why Quebec makes it so hard to change one's name. In [url=http://www.gov.on.ca/ont/portal/!ut/p/.cmd/cs/.ce/7_0_A/.s/7_0_252/_s.7_..., for example, it seems quite straightforward.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
[b]Hilarity aside, it's not at all clear why Quebec makes it so hard to change one's name. In [url=http://www.gov.on.ca/ont/portal/!ut/p/.cmd/cs/.ce/7_0_A/.s/7_0_252/_s.7_..., for example, it seems quite straightforward.[/b]

That's a different thread - but maybe it's to discourage fraud, delinquents from judgement, etc.? Makes sense to me. Why should people change their names anyway? The three examples given in the law make eminent sense to me.

Stephen Gordon

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
Why should people change their names anyway?

Because they want to?

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
[b]

Because they want to?[/b]


And their Social Insurance Numbers?

And their citizenship?

And who they pay child support to?

And whether they pay taxes?

[b][i]Inidividual Freedom Above All! Whim Over Logic! Down With Society! Vote Libertarian![/i][/b]

Stephen Gordon

Slippery slope arguments are beneath you.

500_Apples

quote:


Originally posted by unionist:
[b]

And their Social Insurance Numbers?

And their citizenship?

And who they pay child support to?

And whether they pay taxes?

[b][i]Inidividual Freedom Above All! Whim Over Logic! Down With Society! Vote Libertarian![/i][/b][/b]


Many certainly believe in individual freedom when it doesn't harm others. That's why we have things like a charter. That's why we've made progress on issues such as gay marriage, free speech, et cetera.

I'd like my future family to have everyone share the same name. I'll see what happens, maybe my her name, maybe mine, maybe hyphenated, it'll depend on what she thinks. I do think hyphenated names are moronic though. What happens ten generations down the line?

Pride for Red D...

unionist, as illustrated in my little comment in my first post, I rather agree with you- in my eyes this is a patriarchal practice. However, sin't my imposing this on someone equally an oppressive act ?
There's also the question of whether one's name changed automatically after one was married (obligatorily) or whether it was something only imposed by tradition.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Pride for Red Dolores:
[b]unionist, as illustrated in my little comment in my first post, I rather agree with you- in my eyes this is a patriarchal practice. However, sin't my imposing this on someone equally an oppressive act ?
There's also the question of whether one's name changed automatically after one was married (obligatorily) or whether it was something only imposed by tradition.[/b]

I think you're right - it was something of an overreaction (though I believe a necessary one) to the Great Darkness of the past.

You have to realize that women couldn't serve in a jury in Quйbec until 1970 (!!!!!!!). They couldn't legally buy draft beer until 1967 (where just one location - at Expo 67 - somehow got licensed to serve draft without being designated as a male-only "taverne"). And I'm not sure when the rule changed that children automatically took their father's surname. But it's amazing to think that in France, supposedly more progressive than Quйbec, that law was abandoned [b]only in 2005!!![/b].

I think the most significant point here is that there has been no serious opposition to this law since 1981 - that's 26 years. When Ms. Parent comes along and says she wants to have the same name as her (unborn) children - [b]and doesn't even entertain the thought that maybe her children could bear her name instead of their father's[/b] - I can be pardoned for thinking that this is not a great statement on behalf of the rights of women.

Digiteyes Digiteyes's picture

1. It isn't illegal for a woman to change her name upon marriage. She just has to go through the same process that anyone else would have to go through if they wanted to change their name for a reason other than marriage. Effectively, the statute just puts her name change in the same realm as everyone else.

2. Quebec law isn't the same as the rest of Canada, which is based on precedent. It's codified. Some of it comes from French code. Get over it.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Digiteyes:
[b]1. It isn't illegal for a woman to change her name upon marriage. She just has to go through the same process that anyone else would have to go through if they wanted to change their name for a reason other than marriage. Effectively, the statute just puts her name change in the same realm as everyone else.

2. Quebec law isn't the same as the rest of Canada, which is based on precedent. It's codified. Some of it comes from French code. Get over it.[/b]


Thanks for that confirmation of what I've been saying - you managed to get it out a lot more briefly than I did! And I've been meaning to say "get over it" for a while now...

Stephen Gordon

quote:


Originally posted by Digiteyes:
1. It isn't illegal for a woman to change her name upon marriage. She just has to go through the same process that anyone else would have to go through if they wanted to change their name for a reason other than marriage. Effectively, the statute just puts her name change in the same realm as everyone else.

That would be fine, except that Quebec law makes it well-nigh impossible for anyone to change their name. As far as Quebec law goes, since Caroline Parent was not born with a name that is difficult to pronounce or which invites ridicule, she is not allowed to change her name *at all*. Not even her first name.

Draco

quote:


Originally posted by Michelle:
[b]bcg, you could make your mother's FIRST name your last name. I heard of a professor (I forget her name now!) who did this. I thought that was kind of neat. Then, if you have kids, you can give your last name to your daughters, and the father's last name to your sons. [img]wink.gif" border="0[/img] (I know this is heterosexist - not sure what you'd do in the case of two women or two men.)[/b]

Unfortunately a lot of provincial laws prohibit giving the child any name other than the surname of one parent or a hyphenation of both, like Ontario's Vital Statistics Act:

quote:

A child's surname shall be determined as follows:
1. If both parents certify the child’s birth, they may agree to give the child either parent’s surname or former surname or a surname consisting of one surname or former surname of each parent, hyphenated or combined.
2. If both parents certify the child’s birth but do not agree on the child’s surname, the child shall be given,
i. the parents’ surname, if they have the same surname, or
ii. a surname consisting of both parents’ surnames hyphenated or combined in alphabetical order, if they have different surnames.

It's really quite an outdated and ridiculous law. Giving the child one parent's first name, as you suggest, would be a much better tradition for a family to adopt than the hyphenation that the law allows. A geometric progression of last names would not be a desirable thing.

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
[b]

That would be fine, except that Quebec law makes it well-nigh impossible for anyone to change their name. As far as Quebec law goes, since Caroline Parent was not born with a name that is difficult to pronounce or which invites ridicule, she is not allowed to change her name *at all*. Not even her first name.[/b]


That's the 17th time you have repeated this falsehood - that's an approximation. You can also change your name if you are generally known by a name other than the one on your birth certificate. The difficulty in changing names without "sufficient" or "serious reason" is common to virtually all "civil law" jurisdictions in the world.

And why is that actually such a big deal? Because it interferes with people's whims? I don't think so. It's a big deal because it disrupts patriarchal norms of old societies. Which is precisely why feminists and their supporters lobbied for this law in 1981 in the first place.

Stephen Gordon

I'd very much appreciate a reference that suggests that I'm reading the rules incorrectly.

eta: And I'd also appreciate it if you withdrew the word 'falsehood'. I may be wrong, but I'm not lying. If you can't make the distinction, then I'm giving up on you entirely.

[ 14 August 2007: Message edited by: Stephen Gordon ]

Unionist

quote:


Originally posted by Stephen Gordon:
[b]I'd very much appreciate a reference that suggests that I'm reading the rules incorrectly.[/b]

For the third time (first in French, then in English, now in English again), here is Section 58 of the [i]Code civil du Quйbec[/i]. This time, I am adding little letters in parentheses () for ease of comprehension:

quote:

58. The registrar of civil status has competence to authorize a change of name for a serious reason in every case that does not come under the jurisdiction of the court, and in particular [b](a)[/b] where the name generally used does not correspond to that appearing in the act of birth, [b](b)[/b] where the name is of foreign origin or too difficult to pronounce or write in its original form or [b](c)[/b] where the name invites ridicule or has become infamous.

The registrar also has competence where a person applies for the addition to the surname of a part taken from the surname of the father or mother, as declared in the act of birth.


Get it? Three (3) cases. Not two (2) cases. Three (3) cases. And these are only cited by way of [b][i]example[/i][/b] of "serious reason".

quote:

[b]eta: And I'd also appreciate it if you withdrew the word 'falsehood'. I may be wrong, but I'm not lying.[/b]

Fine - I withdraw "falsehood", although all I meant by it was "false proposition", not "deliberately misleading false proposition".

I'm sure you're not lying. You are, however, definitely wrong.

And here, for the second time, is a [url=http://www.canlii.org/qc/laws/sta/ccq/20070717/whole.html]link[/url] to the full text of the [i]Code civil[/i] in English.

[ 14 August 2007: Message edited by: unionist ]

Stephen Gordon

So how does that contradict what I've said? Caroline Parent's name doesn't fall into any of those three categories (nor does mine), so she has no right to change her name (nor do I). *At all*. No matter what forms we're willing to fill out, people we're willing to notify, obligations we're willing to accept under the new name, or fees we're willing to pay. It's just not allowed.

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