The Council of States has approved a new law allowing Swiss couples to have a free choice as to which of their surnames to adopt as a family name.

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Swiss allowed to choose family name

The Council of States has approved a new law allowing Swiss couples to have a free choice as to which of their surnames to adopt as a family name.


The current law states that the husband’s name becomes the family name automatically, and the wife has only the right to keep her maiden name, followed by the family name.

With the new reform, when two people get married, they can each keep their family names, picking one of them for the children, or choose one of their family names to become the common one, said a report on the Corriere del Ticino newspaper. The choice is also available for gay civil unions, the paper said.

 The reform stems from a 1994 decree from the European Court of Human Rights which ruled that the Swiss law was incompatible with gender equality, the paper said.


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