What's in a name? This bill would allow accent marks on California birth certificates

Source: LA Times

The smiling, little boy in the photo is Nicolas — not Nicolás, as his father, Pablo Espinoza, wanted to name him when he was born in May at a Los Angeles hospital.

"We thought it was an issue of the keyboard," said Espinoza, special projects media consultant for Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon. Instead, it was a result of state law.

Due to Proposition 63, which voters approved in 1986, English became the official language of California. Since then, legislative analysts say, the Department of Public Health has interpreted the rule to mean that diacritical marks, such accents (è or á), umlauts (ö or ü) and tildes (ñ or ã), on vital records are unacceptable.

This legislative session, a bill filed by Assemblyman Jose Medina (D-Riverside), with urging from Espinoza, aims to overturn the ban. The proposal would allow diacritical marks on marriage licenses and certificates of birth, fetal death or death.