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Quebec Spouses' Right to Choose Their Family Name

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We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, draw the attention of The Honourable Bertrand St-Arnaud, the Minister of Justice of Québec, to the following:

Section 393 of the Civil Code of Quebec states that women and men in Quebec must exercise their civil rights under their maiden name.

Name change is a basic legal act that is recognized in practically all legal systems to allow an individual the opportunity to adopt a name other than the name given at birth, marriage, or adoption.

It is a fundamental human right blatantly ignored by Section 393 of the Civil Code of Quebec.

Today, a married woman who lives in Quebec is FORCED by law to retain her maiden name and her maiden name (i.e. her father's name!) is what defines her in all legal documents (health card, driver’s license, passport, credit card, etc.).

This rule applies to all spouses domiciled in Quebec, even if they were married outside Quebec. Today in Quebec, married women are not forced and expected to go by their married names anymore, but forced to keep their maiden names.

If some women do not wish to change their names and choose to keep for the rest of their lives their maiden ones, it is their choice and the law must protect this choice. But other women or men who desire to use their spouse's surname should also be given the choice to choose which name they wish to officially use upon their marriage.

The law should legitimize both options.

A common surname symbolizes strength, bondage, kinship. Also, in the case of immigrant women who marry Quebecers, changing the surname would give them a better chance to feel integrated in this society.

Married men are also deprived of their freedom of choice, but I think that the issue affects more women than men as few men wish to take their wife's surname.

THEREFORE, we, the petitioners, call upon the Minister of Justice of Québec to amend Section 393 of the Civil Code of Quebec that states that women and men in Quebec must exercise their civil rights under their maiden name.

We are not asking for anything that is not known or used in the rest of Canada. We are not asking for the enactment of an utterly foreign, non-western concept in the body of the Canadian law or society.

We are asking that women and men who live in Quebec have the same rights as women and men in English Canada.

It is time to put an end to this diminishing and dictatorial law and give spouses in Quebec FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

Madi Lussier



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