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France's name police ban lesbian parents from calling baby boy 'Amber'

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France's name police ban lesbian parents from calling baby boy 'Amber'
Photo: AFP
11:21 CEST+02:00
Another row has broken out between a French couple and the country's "name police" after the parents took the unusual step of naming their baby boy "Ambre" -- the French equivalent of "Amber".
It's never very long before another baby name wrangle occurs in France.
 
But this time it isn't a rogue Breton letter that's causing all the hoo-ha or a couple's desire to call their baby girl "Liam".
 
This time it's the name "Amber" or "Ambre" in French. 
 
A lesbian couple from the Breton department of Morbihan don't understand why they have been banned from naming their baby boy "Ambre" who was born in January.
 
"It's very unfair," they told the French press. 
 
The name "Ambre" first appeared in France in the 1950s, according to reports in the French press, and is considered to be the feminine version of the word Ambroise which means "immortal".
 
However it is rarely used in France even for girls. 
 
The registrar reported the couple to the French courts and they didn't hesitate to step in, saying the name risked "confusing the child in a way that could be harmful" due to the fact that it is considered a girl's name.
 
And unsurprisingly, the couple aren't happy about it.
 
"Society is very unfair, it lets ridiculous first names pass," one of the baby's mother's Alice Gondelle told France Bleu, adding that "Amber", a classic name "recognized as being for both genders".
 
After initially winning their case the decision was appealed on July 30th and is set for a retrial in April 2019. 
 
The parents, who are supported by French association Les Enfants d'Arc-en-Ciel, an association for homosexual parents, have questioned whether homophobia is at the source of the issue. 
 
Part of the problem could be that the French aren't used to having names that can be given to both boys and girls, with many first names having male and female equivalents, including Francois and Francoise, Jean and Jeanne, and Clément and Clémence.
 
Parents in France often fallen foul of the rules regarding baby names.
 
Up until 1993 parents in France had to choose a name for their baby from a long list of acceptable "prenoms" laid out by authorities.
 
But the list was scrapped under President François Mitterand and French parents were given the liberty to be a little bit more inventive.
 
However courts can still ban names if they decide it is against the child's best interests. Names including Nutella, Fraise (Strawberry) and Manhattan have also fallen foul of the French name police in recent years.
 
Parents have also been banned from giving their baby traditional Breton names because the names had letters that do not exist in the French language. 
 
In January, a Breton couple were barred from naming their son Derc'hen and in September 2017 another couple in Brittany were banned from using the name Fañch.
 
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