From Iceland — Minister Of Justice Proposes Shutting Down Naming Committee

Minister Of Justice Proposes Shutting Down Naming Committee

Published December 2, 2019

Sam O'Donnell
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir has put forth a proposal to shut down the Naming Committee. If passed, it would grant parents full freedom in naming their children. “I believe that that the people’s right to choose their names should be greater than the right of society to restrict their choices,” Áslaug told Vísir. “I am making certain plans for full freedom in these matters, and welcome suggestions about that.”

If passed, people would be allowed to name their children whatever they like, with no stipulation for Icelandic spelling. This means previously rejected names like Lucifer and Zelda would finally be allowed.

As far as parents naming their children cruel and ridiculous names like Sveppur (‘Mushroom’), Djöfull (‘Devil’), or Gardína (‘Curtain’), Áslaug is not worried. “I have little concern that people are deciding on such names,” she said, pointing to other countries with more relaxed naming laws. She added that if there are names that go against the best interest of the child, then some stipulation should be in place with child protection authorities. “This is being looked at in the bill,” she said.

The Naming Committee has historically existed to ensure that new Icelandic names abide by Icelandic grammar, have historical precedence, and are not harmful to the child. Many prominent Icelanders have spoken out against the Naming Committee, including former mayor and comedian Jón Gnarr. Should it be dismantled, we at the Grapevine are looking forward to the next wave of Aidens, Braydens, Kaydens, and Raidens.

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