For most parents, their children are as special as the name by which they will be known. For this reason, the headaches that accompany the election are usually frequent, although they are not always correct. But beyond following the family tradition or the fashions of the moment, the legislation imposes a series of restrictions that can truncate the parents’ plans.
Although the general rule is that the name of the born is “freely chosen” by their ancestors, Article 51 of the Civil Registry Law establishes three limitations.
Thus, “more than two simple names or one compound” may not be recorded. For example, the baby could not be named José María Andrés or Francisca María de Lluch. In fact, the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries in April 2011 denied this last name to some parents. His daughter’s birth inscription included Francisca de Lluch, but they wanted her to be called Maria as well. Such a claim was rejected and the girl kept the initial name.
Nor can “the name of one of his brothers with identical surnames be imposed, unless he has died”, due to the identification problems that this would entail. This prohibition does not apply if the brothers have different sex, so she could be called Alejandra and he Alejandro. And it also does not work if the coincidence in a compound name is only partially, for example, if they were the brothers Luis Miguel and Luis Aurelio.
Finally, the law says that “names that are contrary to the dignity of the person or those that make identification confusing” cannot be imposed. In this sense, the controversy that took place a few years ago due to the refusal of the Civil Registry of Fuenlabrada (Madrid) to name a child Lobo stands out.
Wolf, Lion or Dolphin
The institution considered that it was “susceptible to being confused with a surname.” The parents appealed the decision to the General Registry of the Ministry of Justice after reporting the case on the change.org platform and in the media. They alleged that the name in discord “does not objectively harm the person, does not confuse identification or mislead as to sex.” Finally, the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries, in a resolution of August 22, 2016, considered that the parents’ desire should prosper because “the fact that a name designates an animal is not a sufficient reason, by itself , to deny it as a proper name. Thus, there are numerous cases that refer to animals, such as Paloma, Coral, León, Dolphin and many others ”.
This “openness trend”, qualifies Inmaculada Vivas, professor of Civil Law at the University of Seville, contrasts with what is established in article 3 of the Civil Code, which says that “the rules will be interpreted according to the social reality of the time in which they have to be applied ”.
However, there are names that are not admissible. This is the case of Judas because his “pejorative character still persists” or of Juana for a male since “it clearly induces confusion in identity.” The name Cain, which had traditionally been denied because it was associated with the idea of evil, can now be used due to “its progressive fall into disuse as an offensive or denigrating qualifier,” explains the teacher, taking into account the latest doctrine of the Registries and the Notary Public.
There are other names that are not allowed either because they are “clearly disrespectful, laughable, vulgar or humiliating, or because they do not identify the person as a human being”, but rather as a “thing”, points out Ángel María Judel, a lawyer at CCS Abogados. In fact, the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries has denied names such as Ainara-Peste, Nua for women since it means “naked” in Catalan or Totigual because of its humorous connotation, the lawyer quotes.
On the other hand, names like Lenin, common in Latin America, Stalin, Kennedy or Luther King have not prospered either because they generate confusion with the surname of the character in question. In this way, if a foreign citizen is called that, when acquiring Spanish nationality, he or she should provide another name that is admissible in Spanish law to practice the registration.
Goku, Daenerys or Vega
Despite this, “the successive legislative reforms have been repealing old limits” to the freedom of choice of parents, filing “the subjective interpretation” of the person in charge of the registry and eliminating “protectionism or excessive interventionism”, explains Judel.
Not surprisingly, fantasy names such as Goku, the protagonist of the manga and anime series, are already supported Dragon ball, or Daenerys, the mother of dragons from Game of Thrones. It is also allowed the consignment of the proper name in any of the Spanish languages, and the foreign proper names, as well as the hypocoristic ones, that is, the names in diminutive form that are used as an affectionate appellation. This is the case of Lola, which derives from Dolores, or Pepe, from José.
In fact, in November 2015 the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries changed its doctrine and admitted Vega as a name, when it had traditionally been considered a surname. And the same thing happened with Leon.
Although name inscription problems are “not frequent”, they can occur, as happened to Lobo’s parents. “In the event of refusal, the interested parties may file an appeal against said decision before the General Directorate of Legal Security and Public Faith within a period of one month, which must resolve it within a period of six months following receipt of the letter. Once this period has elapsed without the General Directorate issuing and notifying an express resolution, the claim will be understood to have been rejected, leaving the judicial process expedited, ”explains the professor at the University of Seville.
Worse that they do not allow the inscription of the name chosen for a baby or that you do not like the one they have given you is to wear one that does not match your gender identity. What reported EL PAÍS in a report, a young transsexual from Almeria experienced a “ordeal” at school because the teacher named him in feminine even though he knew it was a woman. “It was a very great humiliation and exposure,” said the mother. “The name is so important at the beginning because it is the only thing they have and it identifies them, more important than people think, because they are not usually hormonal”.
According to the instruction of October 23, 2018 of the General Directorate of Registries and Notaries, the request for a transsexual person to change their name must be attended after meeting certain requirements such as “declaring that they feel of the sex corresponding to the name requested ”. If the minor is not emancipated, his parents jointly or those who exercise guardianship could request registration, explains Professor Vivas. Thus, it is no longer necessary to present gender dysphoria diagnosed in a medical or psychological report or to record having received medical treatment for at least two years.