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Italy rapped for forcing kids to take father's surname

Published on Jan 8, 2014 1:33 AM

STRASBOURG, France (AFP) - Italy on Tuesday lost a long battle to hold on to one of its most cherished and ancient family traditions: requiring children of married couples to take the father's surname only.

An Italian law excluding offspring from having the option to be registered under the mother's maiden name was "patriarchal", "discriminatory" and a rights violation, the European Court of Human Rights ruled, ordering it be ended.

The patronymic practice constituted a "difference of treatment between men and women," the Strasbourg-based court said in its judgement.

In doing so, it sided with an Italian couple who have fought for 13 years to have their children carry the wife's maiden name, rather than the husband's last name.

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