Tech & Rights

Spelling of Surnames at Issue in Lithuania, Where 'W' Is Banned

The Vilnius Civil Registry Office was ordered by a court to spell the last name of a Lithuanian woman marrying a Belgian man with a "w" in her marriage certificate. The court ruled that to do otherwise would be...

by Human Rights Monitoring Institute
Image: Steven Depolo - Flickr/CC content

The Vilnius Civil Registry Office was ordered by a court to spell the last name of a Lithuanian woman marrying a Belgian man with a "w" in her marriage certificate. The court ruled that to do otherwise would be discriminatory and restrict private life — especially in the current cultural and social context, given that the applicant would be greatly inconvenienced by having a different last name from her spouse. The existing laws do not allow for this, and as such they will have to be amended. The mayor of Vilnius welcomed the decision, with the municipality opting to forego the appeal.