Colombia court upends old Latin America naming tradition

November 06, 2019 - 1:37 pm

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Tradition has long had it that children born to families in Latin America receive two last names: That of their father, followed by that of their mother.

Now that practice is being challenged in court.

Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday that the tradition violates principles of equality.

For 30 years, Colombian law has required the father's last name to come first.

Magistrates called on the legislature to draft a new law that will give parents greater freedom in deciding the order of last names.

The lawyer who filed the original complaint argued that the old law had "medieval overtones" and violated laws guaranteeing equal rights.

Spain and a few Latin American nations have changed their laws in recent years, though the practice remains on the books in several others.

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