A couple in France have been reported to police after trying to call their baby daughter ‘Liam’ – a name that the prosecution believe is “contrary to the child’s best interests”.
French naming laws are stricter than most, it goes without saying.
Until 1993, first names could only be chosen from a list mandated by French law, The New York Times reports. Since then, parents have enjoyed more “freedom” but the courts will still step in if the name’s believed to be contrary to the best interests of the child.
In this case, the couple from the country’s north-west region Brittany, tried to name their third child – a daughter born in November – ‘Liam’ and it did not go down well.
In February, the courts intervened with the public prosecutor saying the name is “likely to create a risk of gender confusion”, Local reports.
This apparent “gender confusion” has been deemed against the child’s interests. So much so, in fact, that it might “harm her in her social relations”, the prosecution claims.
The prosecution also cited ‘problematic’ famous Liams – such as Liam Gallagher from the music group Oasis and the Love Actually actor Liam Neeson – as reasons for the name to be denied.
Listen: There’s no one under 60 with the name ‘Nigel’ anymore. We discuss why, on our podcast for imperfect parents. Post continues below.
According to Local, the problem in this case is likely down to the French being unaccustomed to giving the same exact name to boys and girls.
Typically, French ‘unisex’ names are slightly varied between genders, for examples ‘Jean’ and ‘Jeanne’ or ‘Frederic’ and ‘Frederique’.
The parents, who have requested to remain anonymous, are hiring a lawyer and have agreed to postpone the baptism.
They will go to trial to fight for the right to call their daughter ‘Liam’, the date of which has not been set.
At Mamamia, everyday is International Women’s Day.
Through Dress for Success’ Empower Hour campaign, it takes just a few minutes to change a woman’s life forever. Donate an hour of your pay this International Women’s Day and set a woman on her path to success by visiting empowerhour.org.au
Mamamia has also partnered with Room to Read, where you can keep a girl in school for just $1 a day. Educating women and girls is widely understood to be the most powerful and effective way to address global poverty.
You can help make the world a better place for women and girls by donating at www.roomtoread.org/mamamia