FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A family's fight to give their baby girl the last name "Allah" has landed in Fulton County Superior Court.
The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of the family, has filed a petition to force the state of Georgia to issue a birth certificate for a baby girl born in 2015 with the surname "Allah," although the parents do not have that name as their own; the mother's surname is Handy, while the father's surname is Walk.
The ACLU told FOX 5 News, while the baby girl's older brothers were both given the last names of "Allah" in the state of Georgia with no legal objections, the Georgia Department of Public Health has rejected the parents' most recent application with their baby girl.
The ACLU quotes this portion of Georgia's code, under O.C.G.A. 31-10-9: "the surname of the child shall be entered as designated by both parents." In a statement issued by the ACLU, it read "Government has no business telling parents what they can and cannot name their children."
The Georgia Department of Public Health would not comment on the litigation, but referred us to the Georgia state statute governing names.
In court documents submitted by the ACLU, a letter from legal counsel from DPH stated, Georgia code under O.C.G.A. 31-10-9 "requires that a baby's surname be either that of the father or the mother for purposes of the initial birth record."
FOX 5 was told the parents were not available for comment Thursday evening.
The ACLU stated in court documents that the lengthy ordeal since the 2015 birth of the girl has delayed the issuance of a social security number, medical coverage, and social services for the baby.
Former Georgia Superior Court judge Jackie Patterson told FOX 5, he's perplexed why the state of Georgia will not issue a birth certificate, especially while older siblings have the legal surnames of "Allah."
"There is not a single legal basis [for the rejection]. If they [the parents] tried to put a number or some obscenity, that would be understandable. There's no legal ground," Patterson said.