A man in the Netherlands lost his court battle to change his age legally. Emile Ratelband petitioned the court to change his legal age from 69 to 49. Ratelband rationalized his request by arguing individuals can legally change their gender and so he should be able to change his age. The 69-year-old claimed his age limited his opportunities and allowed others to discriminate against him. Ratelband said he identifies as a 49-year-old, not as a man of almost 70.
When Ratelband requested the age change, he says he provided medical records. The records, he says, indicated he has the body of a 40-45-year-old man. With that evidence in hand, Ratelband believed he had a good case to change his age.
Ratelband doesn’t feel like he’s 69 and wants his legal documents to match how he feels. In an interview with the Washington Post, Ratelband said, “We can make our own decisions if we want to change our name, or if we want to change our gender. So I want to change my age.”
His motivation to change his age was revealed in another quote he made to the Washington Post, “When I’m 69, I am limited,” he said. “If I’m 49, then I can buy a new house, drive a different car. I can take up more work. When I’m on Tinder, and it says I’m 69, I don’t get an answer. When I’m 49, with the face I have, I will be in a comfortable position.”
According to Ratelband, he believes that a court changing his age to 49 will provide him with better dating prospects, job opportunities, and luxury items.
The court, Rateland petitioned, responded today with a big fat no to his request. In the ruling, the court said,
“The court did not find any reason in Mr Ratelband’s arguments to create new case law in line with the statutory provisions on changes to a person’s officially registered name or gender.
Its main reason was that, unlike the situation with respect to a change in registered name or gender, there are a variety of rights and duties related to age, such as the right to vote and the duty to attend school.
If Mr Ratelband’s request was allowed, those age requirements would become meaningless.”
The court continued by outlining why they made the denial. According to the court, Ratelband was not able to substantiate his claims of age discrimination
“The court recognized that there was a trend in society for people to feel fit and healthy for longer, but did not regard that as a valid argument for amending a person’s date of birth.
Mr Ratelband had failed to sufficiently substantiate his claim that he suffers from age discrimination, and in any case there are other alternatives available for challenging age discrimination, rather than amending a person’s date of birth.”
Finally, the court concluded that Rateland could feel whatever age he wants to feel. However, his feeling does not change the fact that he was born in 1949. Additionally, the court said they could not wipe 20 years off his birth certificate and not expect that it would affect others registered within those 20 years.
“The court also rejected Mr Ratelband’s argument based on free will, since free will does not extend so far as to make every desired outcome legally possible. Mr Ratelband is at liberty to feel 20 years younger than his real age and to act accordingly.
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 priority must be to ensure that the public registers contain accurate factual information.”
Despite losing his request to change his age, Ratelband felt positive about his future. He said he would appeal the decision to a higher court.
Ratelband appears to be a man on a mission to get more Tinder swipes. We will see how the next court rules.
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