Discover more from Show Me One Thing - by Funmi Oyatogun
It is illegal to change your surname due to marriage, in this part of Canada.
Today, we learn about names. The way people treat names after marriage is different everywhere. So, what's the naming convention in your part of the world?
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Now, to the topic for today. Did you know that it is illegal to change your name due to marriage in Québec?
This is something really interesting, especially coming from a country like Nigeria where women are expected to change their surnames after they get married. So, when I saw this tidbit in a news article, I decided to dig deeper into it. Here’s what I found.
When you get married in Québec, you are required to keep the name on your birth certificate for all things legal. That means, your driver’s license, signing documents, etc. In the words of the province, “both spouses must use their birth names to exercise their civil rights.” This is only expected for legal matters. You can refer to yourself however you like in social interactions and activities.
So, how did this come about?
Sometime in 1981, Québec passed a law that bans a woman from taking up her husband’s last name to help reduce the enormous societal pressure that women face to change their names after marriage. Many people have argued that in a bid to give women more civil rights, their personal decisions have turned political. Many argue that it restricts a woman’s right to choose her husband’s surname or a different one altogether. The exception is for marriages older than 1981. If you were married before April 2nd, 1981 in Québec, you can use your married name because you had it before the law was passed. However, even if you got married outside of Québec after 1981 and you’re domiciled now in Québec, you will be required to use your birth name.
Now, you’re probably wondering how children are typically named in Québec. I found out about that too. According to provincial law, two parents of a child must agree on the name for that child. Each child’s surname must have no more than two parts and can combine any parts of the mother’s name and father’s name. For example:
A woman called Funmi Oyatogun-Judah and a man called Lagbaja Star-Inyang can give their children any of the following surnames:
Or any other derivation or combination of both parent’s names.
Pretty interesting, right? So tell me, what’s your culture of names after marriage and what names do children typically take up in your culture? Did you stick to the norm or did you do something different? Tell me.
Before you go, please share this newsletter with other curious minds. There’s something pretty cool to discover (almost) every week!