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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Swedish MPs in Superman name row
Sara Leisten and son (photo: Expressen)
Sara Leisten and her own little superhero
Swedish MPs are calling for legislation on babies' names to be changed after a Gothenburg woman was refused permission to call her son Staalman (or Superman).

The parents wanted their son to be named after the cartoon superhero, because he was born with one arm pointing upwards - as Superman flies.

Local tax authorities refused the request, saying the name could lead to the boy being ridiculed in later life.

But MPs say the law is inconsistent as the names Tarzan or Batman are allowed.

Inconsistent legislation

The chairman of the Swedish parliament's legal affairs committee, Inger Rene, and five other MPs are to table a motion calling for the legislation to be changed, the Stockholm tabloid Expressen says.

The motion describes the current legislation as "inconsistent" and "difficult to understand".

It points out that parents had been allowed to call a child Bebben, the nickname of a footballer, but not Bajen, the popular name of Stockholm football club Hammarby.

It also points out that the Swedish patent and registration office permits the use of Batman, but not Asterix or Superman.

The move was welcomed by Sara Leisten, Staalman's mother.

A Swedish court had earlier ruled that the name Staalman was "like a surname".

The parents were also refused permission to call their son a similar name, Staalis, but say they may now try again with Staalmannen which means The Superman.

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