As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been meaning to write about the Atlanta family battling state over right to name daughter Allah for a few days. I'm finally getting around to it.
It was a headline on the Drudge Report which first alerted me to the story of Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk, who would not be issued a birth certificate for their daughter. As it turns out, the details of the story are different from what I imagined they would be. I assumed from the headline that the Georgia Department of Public Health had refused to issue the infant a birth certificate with that name from some sort of "political correctness". We can't be insulting Muslims by giving girls the first name Allah, after all.
As it turns out, the Georgia Department of Public Health had an actual, legitimate reason for the refusal. Allah was not to be the child's first name, but rather her surname.
"State officials, however, said the child's name — ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah — does not fit the naming conventions set up by state law. They say that ZalyKha's last name should either be Handy, Walk or a combination of the two."
The State's explanation seemed logical to me, until I read that Handy and Walk have a three-year-old son who was given a birth certificate for his name, Masterful Allah, with no problem. But, even there, a simple explanation is likely. I'm sure that when the older son was issued his name, the particular Georgia Department of Public Health worker who OKed the name was probaly unaware of the state law regarding surname conventions. When the girl was to be named, the Georgia Department of Public Health worker in charge of issuing her birth certificate was more knowledgable of State regulations.
Handy and Walk have been dealing with the state on this issue for at least two years. General counsel Sidney Barrett wrote that, once the birth record is created, ZalyKha's surname can be changed through a petition to superior court; this obvious solution would be not unlike the solution found by Frank and Gale Zappa when the hospital in California would not register the name "Dweezil" on the birth certificate of their first son.
This whole story is not at all news worthy. Had the parents chosen another surname - like, Smith, for example - there wouldn't have been any reason for Drudge to link to the story in the first place. Not exactly fake news, but useless news.