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Gender Equality: 37-Year-Old Man Gets Married, Adopts Wife's Surname

Gender Equality: 37-Year-Old Man Gets Married, Adopts Wife's Surname

A husband from Lyon has become the first man in France to take his wife's surname under a new gender equality law.

But the 37-year-old, who married in September, first had to cross an administrative minefield with his request rejected seven times because officials were unaware the law existed.

He said he finally had to print a copy of the law from a government website before he could be renamed.

"I contacted seven town halls, they all turned me down. They checked several times the boxes they could tick on their computer systems and said it was simply impossible to change it to my wife's," he told RTL radio.

The man from Lyon – named only as Philippe S – said he wanted to use his wife's French-sounding surname because his own Turkish one was hard to pronounce and made it difficult to find work.

But the civil servants could only offer him a double-barrelled name merging his current one plus his wife's.

"I needed my wife's name to be able to get ahead in life, not constantly get knock-backs, and I feel things are improving already," he said.

The change in the law was published in the French government's Official Journal in October 2011, but received little media attention.

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