VANCOUVER, May 28, 2001 ( – Completing a court case concerning the right of a father to have his children bear his last name, Vancouver Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Mary Southin ruled that British Columbia law no longer considers marriage to be a “social institution of paramount or … any importance.” Writing the 2-1 majority decision, Southin concluded that BC law gives biological mothers complete rights over their children, including the sole right to name them. “The legislature has left no ‘gap’ in this question of a child’s name and surname,” she said. ” It has decreed that fathers have no rights.” The man in question had petitioned the court to have his surname follow the mother’s in hyphenated form, after the mother had registered new-born triplets in her name alone, without the father’s knowledge or consent.

Dissenting Justice Jo-Ann Prowse highlighted the unfairness of the decision allowing a father to be denied the “rights commonly associated with parenthood,” particularly when the trial showed the father to be supportive and not guilty of any abuse or neglect. “This is a denial of rights which would likely not be tolerated by society if the roles were reversed and it was the mother who was unilaterally excluded from the registration and naming process,” wrote Prowse. The dissenting Justice considered the withholding of a father’s rights under BC law to be a violation of the Canadian Constitution.

For the complete court ruling see:

For more see the Vancouver Province at:


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