ATLANTA (CBS/AP) — A civil rights group sued Georgia over the state’s refusal to allow a couple to officially name its 22-month-old child “Allah.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed the lawsuit recently in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of the couple, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk.READ MORE: Waterford Township Schools Closed After More Than 60% Of Staff Sickened Following Luncheon
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 told 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 name Allah because it is “noble,” they told the newspaper.
“Simply put, we have a personal understanding that we exercise in regards to the names,” Walk said. “It is nothing that we want to go into detail about, because it is not important. What is important is the language of the statute and our rights as parents.”READ MORE: Giant Supermarket Chain Opening 4 New Stores In Philadelphia, Hiring 700 Employees
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, The Journal-Constitution reported.
“It is just plainly unfair and a violation of our rights,” Walk said.
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 said.
“The parents get to decide the name of the child. Not the state. It is an easy case,” said Michael Baumrind, another attorney representing the family.
The Journal-Constitution reports the couple have a 3-year-old son named Masterful Allah and also have another child on the way as Handy is six months pregnant.
“We don’t want to go through that process again,” Handy told the Journal-Constitution. “We are still in the process of coming up with a name, and we don’t even know if it will be a girl or a boy. But the child will definitely have a noble title. Something to live up to.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Officials Expected To Provide Update On Reopening Timeline Tuesday, Sources Say
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