Colombia court upends old Latin America naming tradition

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11/07/2019

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, overturning a law in place since 1989 and ordering Congress to draft new legislation that gives parents greater freedom in deciding the order of their child’s last names. The issue also intersects with LGBT rights, with same-sex couples wanting to enjoy the same privilege to pass down both family names to their children. A summary of the Colombian Constitutional Court’s decision did not specify how it might apply to those families.

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