Some parents in Tennessee are being ordered to change their baby’s first name after taking a fight over their child’s last name all the way to court.
When Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew heard the baby’s first name was Messiah she had a few words for the couple.
“The word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ,” the judge told WBIR.
This is the first time Judge Ballew has ever ordered a name change. She says she’s also thinking of the baby’s best interests. “It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is,” Ballew said.
In a compromise on the last name debate, the judge is ordering the couple to change the boy’s name from Messiah DeShawn Martin to Martin DeShawn McCullough (Martin is the boy’s mother’s last name and McCullough is the father’s.)
Jaleesa Martin says she will appeal because she likes the name Messiah and thinks it sounds good with his brothers’ names – Micah and Mason
“Everybody believes what they want so I think I should be able to name my child what I want to name him, not someone else,” Martin said.
Forcing parents to change the name of their child isn’t without precedent. In fact, here is a list of banned baby names in New Zealand. Several other countries have forced parents to change a child’s name. A Swedish couple famously battled the courts for years to be able to name their daughter ‘Metallica.’ They ultimately won. Somewhere out there little Metallica is probably getting ready to start elementary school.
What do you think? Should parents be able to name their children whatever they want?
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