In Newport, Tennessee, Jaleesa Martin was ordered to change her 7-month-old baby boy’s name from Messiah to Martin. Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered the name change, stating only one person deserved that name, “and that one person is Jesus Christ.”
Baby Messiah’s parents were in court because they could not agree on his last name. Instead of just changing the last name, Judge Ballew ordered the baby’s name to be changed to Martin DeShawn McCullough, which was an inclusion of both parents’ last names.
Martin is appealing the judge’s decision to change her son’s first name. She told WBIR-TV, “I was shocked. I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn’t think a judge could make me change my baby’s name because of her religious beliefs. Everybody believes what they want so I think I should be able to name my child what I want to name him, not someone else.”
Judge Ballew gave her opinion about the name, stating, “It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has had no choice in what his name is.”
Martin has two older children named Micah and Mason, and thought the name Messiah, which was 4th in fastest-rising baby names on the Social Security Administration’s 2012 list of popular baby names. Her appeal hearing will be on September 17th.
Check out the video of the interview with Jaleesa Martin below.
BMWK – Let us know your thoughts. Was the judge out of line? Or, do you agree with her reasoning about the name possibly being an issue for the child at some point?
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