Former Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr plans to appeal a decision by the National Registry which prevents him from changing his legal name to Jón Gnarr.
Vísir reports that Jón recently filed a formal request with the National Registry to change his name from Jón Gnarr Kristinsson to just Jón Gnarr, as he has been known for decades. The Registry rejected the request, saying in part that “it is illegal to take up a new surname in Iceland.”
Jón says that this is not true in practice, pointing out that foreigners who receive Icelandic citizenship are allowed to keep their non-Icelandic surnames (as this reporter can attest).
“It is the opinion of my lawyer that to give some people permission to change their surnames but not others is a violation of the Icelandic Constitution” where equality before the law is concerned, Jón says. “I intend to continue to fight for my rights, and will next appeal my case to the Ministry of the Interior. To be continued …”
As reported, Jón has had considerable trouble having his legally registered name changed to the name he is known by to people around the world.
“In Iceland, you can be named Jesus,” he posted on his Facebook last July. “The Name Committee can’t stop that. It doesn’t matter if you spell it with an ú or a u. You can also be named Muhamed or Muhammed. The naming laws pertain mostly to only a fraction of Icelanders. What kind of law discriminates against people in this way? Why, for example, may [Independence Party MP] Elín Hirst have the surname Hirst but I can’t have Gnarr? Is Hirst cooler? More Icelandic? Are all animals equal, but some are more equal than others? In Jesus’ name, answer me!”