NEWPORT, Tenn.— A Tennessee judge said parents can name their 8-month-old baby “Messiah,” overturning the decision of another judge who thought the name was blasphemous.
At a paternity hearing last month, child support magistrate Lu Ann Ballew was asked to decide Messiah Deshawn Martin’s surname. Ballew ended up changing the baby’s first name as well, saying that “Messiah” was a title reserved for Jesus Christ.
On Wednesday, Chancellor Telford E. Forgety Jr. overturned that decision, ruling that the lower court acted unconstitutionally. He said the lower court violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The child’s mother, Jaleesa Martin, expressed relief after the hearing. She said the original ruling was “ridiculous” and that she was glad the court fight is over.