Canadian Press, by SUE BAILEY, June 6, 2003
OTTAWA (CP) - Mothers shouldn't have sole power to name a child when they arbitrarily refuse to acknowledge the father, Canada's highest court says.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled 9-0 Friday to strike down British Columbia's Vital Statistics Act because it violates guaranteed equality rights. Under the act, mothers who "unacknowledge" the father can register and name their children without the dad's input.
That's unconstitutional, the high court said. But it suspended the effect of its ruling for 12 months, allowing the province time to change its law.
At the heart of the case is an unmarried B.C. father's fight to have his triplet sons bear his last name.
While it's a victory for men, the judgment won't immediately help Darrell Trociuk.
It orders the B.C. legislature - and, in effect, others with similar laws - to draft rules that better reflect the interests of both mothers and fathers. But it stops short of granting Trociuk the outcome he most wanted: to give his seven-year-old sons at least a hyphenated last name.