INTERVIEW. “It’s a stoppage of the patriarchy”: two years after his law on name change, Patrick Vignal wants to go further

INTERVIEW. “It’s a stoppage of the patriarchy”: two years after his law on name change, Patrick Vignal wants to go further

The Hérault MP introduced the law on the name change in 2022. MAXPPP – Vincent Isore

Patrick Vignal introduced the law on the change of name promulgated in 2022. Two years later, and while the latest report shows an explosion of requests, the Renaissance deputy of Hérault returns to a text which changed the lives of 144,000 people.

How do you interpret these increasing figures ?

Between August 2022 and December 2023, the number of name changes exploded. Surveys show that these are mainly young people and women. For me, this law corresponds to society, it is entirely in phase.

What has the Vignal law changed??

Before, if you wanted to add your mom's name to your dad's, you had to make an appointment with a lawyer. It could take time, it cost money and it was not certain that your request would be granted. Today, one Cerfa is enough to so that you can add the name of your father or mother. In the joint committee, there were senators who did not want my law, or a few deputies who said: “Men cannot give life, while they at least keep the name”.

Who changes their name?

It’s on three levels. The first is about names “bizarre” : Abdeslam, Cocue… names that are difficult to bear. The second level is in families where there are only girls, and where the father dies. In this case, the name stops. Or otherwise, people who say: “My mother raised me alone, I no longer want to bear my father's name”. The third level, which is really very important, concerns violence, incest, rape.

What do these numbers say about the company??

This law is a marker of society, one more step in the conquest of real equality between men and women. It’s a decision of the patriarchy. With this strong act, I think that we can go further by resolving problems of violence, incest. This law is modeled on society. That’s why I’m not surprised by the fact that it concerns 60% women. Most of them are young people. This is a generation that will not take their husband's name, or will also keep their first name.

What does changing your name solve??

We changed the lives of 144,000 people. There was a lot of pain, people in difficulty. When I travel around, I see a lot of kids who have anger towards society. When we dig deeper, we realize that they were victims of violence, or incest…hellip; and they feel that they have not been protected. This is why this law is interesting. Plus it costs zero.

What motivates you on the name change issue?

We have very good feedback. People tell us: “I’started to relive”. What had me’ ;nbsp;marked it was the testimony of a woman of around sixty years old in the Pyrénées-Orientales. She said she had been raped by her stepfather for years. She changed her name and texted me: “You changed my life”. This is the impact of this law. There are some great stories about name changes. But often, there's a lot of suffering behind it, very violent, very difficult stories.

Do you want to go further ?

The next step is to find out what we can do when both parents are executioners. When we don't want either the father's name or the mother's name. And we also have the problem of dual nationality that arises. There are many people who tell me that they cannot change their name in France because otherwise they will lose their second nationality with a country that does not accept name changes. There are also some town halls which are still reluctant to apply the law. And then we must look at violence against women, which we find a lot in name changes. We must not forget that there are 160,000 children per year who are victims of incest and that a woman dies every two days at the hands of her partner.

We have good reason to believe that the number of name changes will continue to explode…

I think it will continue. 22% of French people would like to change their name. Out of 66 million, it's enormous. It's a democratic tsunami: created by a collective, carried by a parliamentarian, supported by by the Minister of Justice. We are not out of sync. Because this law is ahead of society. The signal we send is: “Yes, sometimes politics can be useful for something”, it restores confidence.

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