Court Rules Man Can't Be 49 Again

The Netherlands' Emile Ratelband is 69, wanted to be legally recognized as 49
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2018 9:45 AM CST
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Self-styled Dutch "positivity" guru Emile Ratelband.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
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(Newser) – Nice try, Emile Ratelband. A Dutch court has ruled that the 69-year-old must remain 69, rejecting his request to be officially recognized as 49, reports the AP. The motivational speaker's legal gambit drew international attention, but the court in Arnhem wasn't having it. "Mr. Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly," the court in a statement. "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 silver lining for Ratelband is that he has gotten loads of publicity, which should help him as a self-titled "positivity trainer." Ratelband had said he suffered age discrimination and argued that if people could change their name and gender, he should be allowed to change his age, per the BBC. Nope, said the court, deciding that the precedent would be too confusing. "Rights and obligations are also attached to age," said the court. "For example, the right to vote, the right to marry, the opportunity to drink alcohol and to drive a car." Among other things, the judges worried about the implications of younger people deciding they'd like to be considered older. (Maybe he can console himself with porcini mushrooms.)

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