In New Zealand, there will be no little Lucifers on the playground. Nor will there be any Messiahs.
Choosing a name for an unborn child is no simple task. But for some parents, the quest for a unique name results in monikers that are potentially damaging to young ones, or at least New Zealand thinks so.
A 9-year-old was granted special permission to change her name in the country. “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap,” the judge ruled.
The name in question? Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii.
Now New Zealand’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages is trying to bring a little perspective to the occasionally out-of-hand name game. Three sets of parents unsuccessfully attempted to name their newborns Lucifer. The name is essentially banned from the country.
[Related: 10 illegal baby names]
In the past two years, the registrar has rejected 102 names, many of them too similar to titles. Bishop, Knight, King, and Mr. have all been denied in that time, as have names with slashes, asterisks and full stops.
The name crackdown appears to be in response to the negative attention the registrar received in 2008 when the names Violence and Number 16 Bus Shelter were approved. But is banning the name Duke going too far?
The single letters C, D, and T have been rejected, but q and J passed after being queried. The criterion for an appropriate name has yet to be publicly outlined.
For now, it can be assumed celebrities won’t be heading to New Zealand to name their newborns. (Would celeb-chosen names Pilot Inspektor, Kal-El or Moxie Crimefighter have made the cut? Not likely.)
[See also: The most popular baby names]
The Globe and Mail points out New Zealand isn’t the only country wrestling with baby-naming laws.
In the Dominican Republic, a judge proposed a ban on names that were either confusing or gave no indication of gender — What would that do to this controversial story? — and in Sweden, courts have approved Google and Lego, but rejected Superman, Elvis and Metallica.
Do you think parents should have full control over their children’s names? Or do you agree there should there be a system in place to prevent little Adolf Hitlers from running around your neighbourhood?
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