Mexican State Law Makes It Illegal To Name Babies ‘Facebook,’ Keep Twitter On The Table, Please


Sonora, the Mexican state just across the border from Arizona, has banned about 61 baby names from use in their state. Included in the list of names that can no longer be bestowed on bouncing bundles of joy: Lady Di, Rambo, and the Spanish equivalents of the words martian and circumcision (“marciano” and “circuncision”). Apparently, “Facebook” was also a name that had to be struck from the list of options for Sonoran parents.

The names that were banned were names that had been found at least once in the newborn registry. Officials are still combing through to find others that may be taken out of usage under the law. Cristina Ramirez, the Sonora state Civil Registry director said:

“The law is very clear because it prohibits giving children names that are derogatory or that don’t have any meaning and that can lead to bullying.”

I get that this state wants to protect babies and children from crazy appellations and overly quirky parents, but a law? A whole law banning specific names? That goes too far, for me. Mexico isn’t the first country to have a law (even a state law) specifically about baby naming—Germany, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and others have very specific laws—but I’ll never be on board with laws that limit what names parents can give their children, no matter how terrible the moniker might be.
If you read my post about baby name obsession, you’ll know that I tend to be open-minded about naming choices, especially those that are a bit outside the norm. I am slightly libertarian in the way that I believe governments should not meddle in issues that are clearly those of free personal choice and to me, that includes naming. Would I name my kid “Circumcision” or “Facebook?” Do I think any child should ever be named those names? No way. But I don’t believe that governments should have any control over baby naming.

Photo: Getty Images

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  • candyvines

    You know how sometimes you will see a sign somewhere instructing you not to do something completely obvious? Those signs are there because someone lacking common sense did that stupid thing. This law reminds me of that. It only applies to the people who would be dumb enough to give their baby a horrible name. Your parents are supposed to protect you from the world, unfortunately sometimes the world needs to protect you from your parents.

    • personal

      I agree. Although it was against German law to name a baby after a certain terrorist (Saudi national, hiding in a cave somewhere at the time, later killed by US forces, you know the dude), an immigrant to Germany fought it and tried, (oddly enough the MOTHER of the child was never interviewed or even shown. It was as if the man had expelled the innocent little being he insisted on calling Osama bin Laden himself) and it was all over the news over here for a while.
      Personally, I wish someone had stepped in at the time and refused to allow that US citizen who later lost custody of his kids from naming then nazi names.
      Back in college in the US, I remember the mom of a guy I dated saying that, in her opinion, laws making child abuse illegal were wrong, that SHE gave life to her kids and she should be allowed to do what she wanted with them. I disagreed with her, too.
      Sometimes kids need to be protected from their parents’ bad choices.

    • candyvines

      Ugh, that’s awful. Poor kids :(