Parents sue government for not allowing them name their daughter 'Allah'

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According to the Washington Post, ZalyKha's parents filed suit on Thursday, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

According to state officials, the baby girl's proposed name, ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah, should have a last name that matches one of the parents - Handy or Walk - or some type of a combination of the two.

State officials with the Department of Public Health told Georgia residents Bilal Walk and Elizabeth Handy that giving their baby a different surname does not fit their naming conventions in place by state law, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The state's response was that they could name the baby Handy, they could name her Walk or Handy-Walk or Walk-Handy; but there's no way they can name this baby Allah.

When Bilal and Elizabeth attempted to file paperwork to legally name their child, their request was denied in accordance with the Georgia Administrative Code's rules for birth certificates.

"Government has no business telling parents what they can and cannot name their children", Andrea Young, Executive Director of the ACLU of Georgia said in a statement.

The parents' eagerness to finally prevail has been intensified by the fact that Handy is six months pregnant and the parents have said that their next child will again be bestowed a "noble title".

Icelandic surnames are slightly more complicated: you do not take the surname of your father or mother, but their name followed by "son" or "daughter of".

The state Department of Public Health has refused to issue the 22-month-old with a birth certificate. And the idea that you get to name your child, and not the state, is a fundamental right.

"We have to make sure that the state isn't overstepping their boundaries", Walk told the Journal Constitution.

In the meantime, the couple is unable to get Medicaid coverage or food stamps for their daughter because she does not yet have a birth certificate. "Not the state. It is an easy case". In a filing listing a series of unfortunate names granted in other states, such as "Adolf Hitler" and "Dracula", the state of Georgia argued it needed to set rules for "the best interests of the child". "It's a First Amendment issue - an expressive act of naming your child".

Mr Walk said: 'It is just plainly unfair and a violation of our rights'.

But even then, his paper noted, it's hard for the government to fairly decide what constitutes an offensive or ridiculous name.

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