An Atlanta couple decided they wanted to use ‘Allah’ as their daughter’s last name, even though neither of them shares that surname. But the state of Georgia won’t allow it to happen.
Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk — as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia — are questioning a state law requiring a legal birth certificate to include the last name of either the mother or father or a combination of the two.
Once the birth certificate is issued, the parents can request to legally change the child’s last name via a superior court petition.
The Atlanta couple’s daughter, ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah, who is now 22 months old, still cannot receive a Social Security number with the name they have chosen. Her parents are also wary of future issues with health care, school and travel since they had to cancel a planned trip to Mexico because of the birth certificate issue. They have already been denied Medicaid and food stamps for their daughter.
The ACLU of Georgia has filed a lawsuit against the Georgia Department of Public Health. The chapter’s director, Andrea Young has labeled the state’s decision “an example of government overreach and a violation” of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, according to a report from The Record.
Handy and Walk have stated that their choice has nothing to do with religion and that they feel Allah is a “noble” name. Their three-year-old son was named Masterful Allah and they were able to receive a birth certificate for him without issue.
Handy is also six months pregnant and the couple hopes to avoid this issue happening again.
H/T: The Record
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