Two Georgia parents are cheering after winning a dispute over the last name chosen to appear on their child’s birth certificate. The pair chose “Allah” as the last name of their now toddler daughter, despite a state law which mandates a child’s last name must be one of the parents or a combination of the two.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed a lawsuit in March on behalf of Elizabeth and Bilal Walk. The pair named their child “ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah,” but the state would not issue the birth certificate because the name was not in compliance with state law.
The family alleged the denial was a violation of the First Amendment and their civil rights while the Georgia Department of Public Health lawyer argued that the state law should supersede a choice last name. Oddly, the state previously issued birth certificates with the last name “Allah” for two older sons.
After several weeks of pressure, however, the Department of Public Health caved and issued a birth certificate with the last name “Allah” as requested. ZalyKha will now be assigned a social security number, something she was denied before, and will be eligible to obtain health insurance and enroll in a public school.
An attorney for the family, Michael Baumrind, said back in March that it was an “easy” case, that “the parents get to decide the name of the child. Not the state.”
The Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia, Andrea Young, told the Associated Press “no one wants to live in a world where the government can dictate what you can and cannot name your child. It goes against our values, the legislature’s intent, and the plain language of the law.”
The ACLU will not purse the lawsuit any further. The parents are expecting another child in July, though they made no mention of what the name may be