The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Surname liberty call

Rome, May 31: Your view: should children take their mother’s name'

Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of Italy’s wartime fascist leader, has called for children to be able to take their mother’s surname if they wish.

She spoke after Italy’s supreme court called for an end to the country’s outdated and “patriarchal” rules and said they were not compatible with the concept of female equality.

At present, Italian children must take their father’s surname. However, a group of politicians, led by Mussolini, wants the law to be changed to allow children to choose.

The court rejected a plea from a father for his son to carry his surname. It said that as he had not recognised the boy when he was born in 1997, the child could continue to use his mother’s name.

“Now we must make a new law,” Mussolini said, adding: “This judgment is enlightened. It is recognition for women and motherhood.”

Her two daughters and son bear their father’s name, Floriani. However, she went through a lengthy legal process to allow them to attach Mussolini to their surname. “I can assure you that it was a long, confusing and, above all, expensive procedure that very few are able to do,” she said.

In Britain, children can choose to take either parent’s surname. In Spain, children can choose double-barrelled names.

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