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The Supreme Court on Dec. 16 turned down a complaint by women that a Civil Code provision that does not allow a married couple to use different surnames violates the Constitution.

The plaintiffs were not demanding that all couples use separate surnames. They were instead arguing that people should be given the freedom not to change their surnames when they marry if they so wish. They said that this freedom relates to the very dignity of individuals — a core principle of the Constitution. People who want to have the same surname as their spouse should of course be free to do so if they so wish. But the system of marriage should also be open to people who do not want to use the same surname, the plaintiffs argued. Why did their complaint go unheeded by the top court justices?

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