FRANCE: The Surname Game

What's in a name? In France, plenty of legal trouble—if the name happens to be one that French law finds distasteful. Last week every Frenchman with an infelicitous name seemed to be protesting the case of Gérard and Paulette Tro-gnon, a middle-class couple from the town of Le Mée-sur-Seine southeast of Paris. Recently a three-judge court in nearby Melun ruled that the Trognons could not bestow their name on their three-year-old foster son Philippe. The court did not object to the couple but only to their surname, which means stump or butt end. A name like that, said Chief Judge...

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