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Germany’s upper house of parliament approved a new reform that would relax strict rules on family names, including allowing parents to give their children hyphenated last names, the Associated Press reported over the weekend.

Current naming rules require parents to give their children one of their last names. For married couples, one partner – not both – can add the other’s name to his or her surname.

But with the new reforms, both partners and their children can take a double surname – with or without hyphens. Parents will also be permitted to give their children two surnames with a hyphen, but the changes will not allow names with more than two names.

The new bill will also facilitate changing family names for stepchildren and the children of divorced parents, as well as benefit Germany’s minorities, such as the Slavic Sorbs and Frisians, which have unique naming conventions.

Germany will still require parents to name their children a name that designates their gender, and does not have a negative effect on the well-being of the child, and is not a last name, an object or a product. The name has to be approved by local authorities.

Many European countries have strict laws on the names of their children. For example, in Denmark, parents can only choose a name from a list of 7,000 pre-approved names. If the parents wish to name their child something else, they will have to get special permission from their local church and the government.

The law will take effect next year and is part of a number of social reforms by Germany’s three-party coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The ruling coalition has currently passed a series of ambitious reforms, including legalizing possession of limited amounts of cannabis, loosening rules on obtaining German citizenship and allowing dual citizenship, as well as ending a ban on doctors “advertising” abortion services.

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