The Name That Ga. Doesn't Want These Parents to Bestow

ACLU files suit on behalf of couple who chose 'noble' last name of 'Allah' for baby
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2017 1:29 PM CDT

(Newser) – A civil rights group sued Georgia over the state's refusal to allow a couple to officially name their 22-month-old child "Allah." The ACLU of Georgia filed the lawsuit recently in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of the couple, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk, the AP reports. At issue is the young girl's proposed last name of Allah. State law requires a baby's surname to be either that of the father of the mother for the initial birth record, lawyers for the Georgia Department of Public Health tell the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. State officials say the child's name—ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah—should either be Handy, Walk, or a combination of the two. The couple gave her the last name Allah because it is "noble," they told the newspaper.

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"It is nothing that we want to go into detail about, because it is not important," Walk says. "What is important is the language of the statute and our rights as parents." The ACLU of Georgia filed the lawsuit on behalf of the couple, who say they can't get a Social Security number for their daughter because they don't have a birth certificate. They also anticipate problems with access to health care, schools, and travel. "It is just plainly unfair and a violation of our rights," Walk adds. The state's decision is an example of government overreach and a violation of the First and 14th Amendments, ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young notes. "The parents get to decide the name of the child. Not the state. It is an easy case," says Michael Baumrind, another attorney representing the family. (Read more baby name stories.)

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