A Georgia couple is taking the state to court after they were not allowed to name their daughter “Allah,” which means God in Arabic.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed the lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk, the parents of two children, with another on the way.
Georgia’s Department of Public Health refused to grant their youngest child, a 22-month-old, a birth certificate, saying state law requires a baby’s surname to be either to be either that of the mother or father, or a combination of the two, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The child, ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah, born May 25, 2015, has neither.
The outlet also reports that the unmarried parents already have a son named Masterful Mosirah Aly Allah. They also say the child’s name has nothing to do with religion, but is “noble.”
“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,” says Walk.
The couple says they can’t get a Social Security number for their daughter because they don’t have a birth certificate. They also say they have not been able to receive medical coverage under Medicaid and are prevented from obtaining food stamps through the SNAP program.
“It is just plainly unfair and a violation of our rights,” Walk said. Lawyers contend the decree is a violation of the parents’ free speech rights as well as equal protection under the law.
“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.