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Bern tells parents: Jessico not a boy’s name

Malcolm Curtis · 5 Feb 2014, 10:55

Published: 05 Feb 2014 10:55 GMT+01:00

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Alain and Miriam Flaig, from the town of Huttwil, named the child Jessico after he was born last Wednesday at the Lagenthal maternity hospital, Blick newspaper reported.

The child was born in 15 minutes and the couple picked out his name.

But the following day, problems arose, Blick reported.

In a letter, the authorities from Oberaarggau sent a letter objecting to the selection.

“As a first name for your son you have written Jessico on the birth form,” the letter said, according to Blick.

“According to the information at our disposal, Jessico is defined as a female first name.”

As a result, the Bern authorities have refused to register the name.

“We were stunned and we are angry,” the boy’s father Alain Flaig, a 26-year-old car mechanic, told Blick.

The couple were asked to explain in writing why they chose Jessico as a name.

But the father said the couple does not plan to pursue a civil case if the authorities persist.

So they are resigned to seeking another name.

But in other cantons, such as Vaud and Fribourg, Jessico would be acceptable as a boy’s name, Le Matin reported.

A change in the federal law in 1994 allowed parents the freedom to choose whatever name they want for their children.

Story continues below…

However, a condition requires that the first name leaves no confusion regarding the sex of the child and that it does not cause injury or prejudice to him or her.

“In most cases, parents agree to change the first name if the authorities clearly explain the dangers of their choice,” Urs Ackermann, of the public records office in the canton of Fribourg told Le Matin.

Legal disputes over first names are, accordingly, rare.

But what about the name Jessico?

A Google search pops up the name of an album by the Argentine rock group Babasónicos and the title of a song by a group called the Kentucky Headhunters, which refers to Jessico as a “pretty girl”.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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