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Court upholds triple surname ban

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Photo: DPA
10:54 CEST+02:00
Germany’s Constitutional Court upheld a ban on triple surnames on Tuesday. The ruling denied an appeal from a Munich couple who wanted to combine their last names to give the wife the moniker Thalheim-Kunz-Hallstein.

People must keep their surnames to a maneageable length in order to secure the name’s power of identification, the Karlsruhe-based court said, adding that couples have a “large range of variation possibilities” for combining their names.

The ban on double-hyphenated (or longer) surnames began in 1994. According to daily Süddeutche Zeitung on Tuesday, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), fought hard for the ban.

But some politicians from the centre-left Social Democrats, including Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries also supported the ban, saying such long names were impractical.

Critics say the ban infringes on the rights of married couples and is much more stringent than name laws in other countries. Others have said that allowing longer last names wouldn’t inspire most Germans to actually choose multiple-hyphen monikers.

The court already ruled against appeals to the law in 2002 and 2004, Süddeutche Zeitung reported.

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Germany is also known for its strict rules for determining the appropriateness of first names for children.

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