ACLU battles Georgia over toddler’s last name of ‘Allah’.

After refusing to issue a birth certificate to parents because of what they wanted to name their daughter, the Georgia Department of Health has reversed their decision.

In March, the ACLU of Georgia filed suit against the Georgia Department of Health after it said the department refused to issue a birth certificate to a couple who wished to give their daughter the last name of Allah.

According to an ACLU news release, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk wanted to name their child ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah. State officials reportedly told the couple that the child’s last name had to match either her mother or father.

The ACLU writes:

State officials had previously refused to issue a birth certificate to the couple for their daughter, who was born in 2015, for the stated reason that the surname was not the surname of either parent or combination thereof. But the statute for issuing birth certificate states that the birth certificate shall be issued in the surname “as designated by both parents.” In addition, the state had issued birth certificates for two older sons with the same surname – “Allah” – without objection.

The Department of Health’s refusal to grant the birth certificate prevented the couple from getting a Social Security number, prevented them from obtaining medical coverage under Medicaid, and prevented them from obtaining food stamps through the SNAP program.

They would have also not been able to enroll their daughter in public school, and feared that her identity as a U.S. citizen will be questioned.

Now, the ACLU has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, calling it a win for parental rights.

“This is an important vindication of parental rights and a long-overdue victory for Elizabeth and Bilal,” said ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young. “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.”


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