Two Georgia parents won a battle outside of court and can now legally cite their toddler’s last name as “Allah,” despite a state law stating names must match one of the last names of the parents on the birth certificate.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia (ACLU) 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 Georgia Department of Public Health requires a last name to be the same of one parent or a combination of the two.
The family alleged the denial was a violation of the First Amendment and their civil rights.
The Georgia DPH 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 Georgia Department of Public Health 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 in March that “The parents get to decide the name of the child. Not the state. It is an easy case.”
The Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia, Andrea Young, told the Associated Press:
“This is an important vindication of parental rights and a long overdue victory for Elizabeth and Bilal. 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.