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Women adopting their husbands name is no longer relevant – Justice Osei Tutu

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High Court Judge, His Lordship Justice Alexander Osei Tutu contends that the tradition of women adopting their husband’s names has lost its relevance in modern times.

He points to legislative changes that have liberated women from historical constraints, enabling them to live and act independently without being under their husband’s coverture.

In an interview with Joy News on The Law, Justice Osei Tutu explained that, “For many years women have been subdued and that people don’t know when they use Mrs. If you marry under the ordinance it’s presume that you must change your name and adopt the name of your husband.

“The question I ask is, what is the relevance of adopting your husband’s name now? Women should have their own identity. In the past, women adopted their husband’s names because the law required it for certain activities, but now women can do everything independently,” he said.

He asserted that early first-century beliefs did not include this practice. ”As I said, it is an English custom that was intended to demean women. However, its significance has diminished, and we need to reconsider adopting ‘Mrs.’ and using the husband’s name. Even in Islam, it is not permitted,” he said.

He explained, “If you want to use the Bible to justify it, you may also get it wrong as nowhere in the Bible does it state that a woman must change her name upon marriage.”

He explained that coverture laws historically prevented married women from performing lawful acts independently. “Women could not do anything without their husbands,” he stated.

Mr. Osei Tutu noted that this rule persisted for many centuries until legislation in the 19th century began empowering women to act independently. “For example, the Married Women’s Property Act allows women to hold property in their own names. Even in the U.S., until 1930, women could not obtain passports without their husbands. There were many things the law did not allow women to do.”

“But fortunately, all these disabilities have been lifted. Women can now do everything independently,” he added. “So it is not biblical, it is not Islamic, and legally, it has lost its relevance.”

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