Tenn. Judge Orders Baby Name Be Changed From 'Messiah'

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Credit: WBIR.com

Tenn. Judge Orders Baby Name Be Changed From 'Messiah'

August 12, 2013 Updated Aug 12, 2013 at 10:55 AM EDT

NEWPORT, Tenn. (21Alive) – A mother and father who went to court because they could not agree on their son’s last name, are now facing having to change the baby’s first name.

Jalessa Martin couldn’t agree with her son Messiah’s father on his last name, which landed them at a child support hearing in Cocke County Chancery Court, according to NBC affiliate WBIR.

Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew, upon hearing the child’s first name, ordered that the child’s name be changed from Messiah DeShawn Martin to Martin DeShawn McCullough. The decision addressed the conflict of last name by including both parent’s last names, but the parents weren’t expecting the first name to change.

According to WBIR, Judge Ballew said that “the word Messiah is a title and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person and that one person is Jesus Christ”. Jalessa Martin said she was shocked and didn’t think a judge would be able to change her son’s first name because of religious beliefs.

Judge Ballew continued that the baby didn’t have any choice in his own name and the name Messiah could put him at odds with people in the future.

The mother is appealing the court’s decision; it will go before the Cocke County Chancellor on Sept. 17.

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