Parents banned from giving son historic name

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer

French authorities have banned a couple from naming their newborn son ‘Amber’ due to fears that the child may become confused by his gender in the future.

The new parents, who are both mums from Brittany, welcomed their child in January but when they went to register his birth, the registrar reported them to a prosecutor in Lorient.

It was soon decided that the name – which translates to ‘Ambres’ in French – would end up “confusing the child in a way that could be harmful”.

The baby’s mothers later appeared in a family court where the judge ruled that it is necessary to make them change their child’s name. But the prosecutor appealed against them and now, their son’s moniker will not be decided until next April when the case returns to court.

The parents believe that the ruling against them is an act of homophobia, as one of the women, Alice Gondelle, said: “It allows ridiculous first names like ‘Clitorine’. I wonder why it is that with a name as classic and ancient (as ‘Ambre’) can’t get through and it is the state that is attacking us in the courts?”

French authorities have banned a couple from naming their baby ‘Ambres’ through fears it may confuse the child in the future Photo: Getty

The moniker is a popular girl’s name in the US but its French equivalent, ‘Ambres’, is relatively rare. Though Gondelle pointed out in her Facebook post that she knows of 37 male ‘Ambres’ who live in France.

It’s not the first time the French authorities have refused to allow parents to register certain names. Back in 2011, a court ruled against one couple naming their child ‘Daemon’ after the character of Damon in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ due to its connotations with the devil.

Fast forward three years later and another couple were not permitted to name their daughter ‘Nutella’ through fears it “ might lead to mockery and unpleasant remarks”. 

The decision often falls back on Article 57 of France’s Civil Code, which states: “when a name, or a combination of names, is considered contrary to the interests of the child, the civic officer shall promptly notify the prosecutor, who may refer the matter to the Family Court”.

The couple believe the decision was an act of homophobia [Photo: Pexels]

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