Back to the present: Court rejects Dutch man’s request to legally change his age
The 69-year-old Dutch motivational speaker who fought to legally change his age so that he might fare better in the dating scene has had his case rejected by a court in the Netherlands.
Self-proclaimed ‘positivity coach’ Emile Ratelband was frustrated by his lack of luck with the ladies in online dating, something which he attributed to his age.
Thus began the legal case which garnered worldwide media attention and perhaps a few wry smiles at how audacious Ratelband’s claim was; namely that he ‘felt’ 20 years younger and should therefore be allowed to legally change his age.
“I say it’s comparable because it has to do with my feeling, with respect about who I think ... I am, my identity,” Rateband said.
He argued that his appeal was in keeping with recent progressive policies and laws in which personal transformation and identification is afforded more freedom than ever before, including but not limited to, changing one’s name or gender identity.
However, the court ruled that, given that age is so closely linked with the legal system and various legal rites of passage, “such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school,” that affording people the opportunity to legally change their age would set a dangerous precedent.
“Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly,” Arnhem court said in a press statement as cited by the AP.
But amending his date of birth would cause 20 years of records to vanish from the register of births, deaths, marriages and registered partnerships. This would have a variety of undesirable legal and societal implications.
The court also suggested that there were other alternatives available for challenging age-based discrimination, adding that Ratelband had failed to convince the court that he was in fact subject to discrimination.
Unsurprisingly for a motivational speaker by trade, Ratelband was upbeat and cheerfully defiant even as his legal challenge went up in flames.
“This is great!” he said. “The rejection of (the) court is great… because they give all kinds of angles where we can connect when we go in appeal.”
It’s back to the drawing board now, apparently.
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