Last month we told you the bizarre tale of Tennessee mother Jaleesa Martin, who was ordered to change her son’s name from “Messiah” to “Martin.” As previously reported, the child’s parents were in court regarding a dispute over the his last name when Child Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew addressed concerns about the baby’s name because she believed it would cause the little boy problems growing up in a predominately Christian community.
“It could put him at odds with a lot of people and at this point he has no choice in what his name is. 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,” said Ballew.
Jalessa vowed to continue calling her son “Messiah” and promised to appeal Judge Ballew’s ruling, which was a decision that turned out in her favor. According to News One, Chancellor Telford E. Forgety ruled today at an appeals court hearing that Judge Ballew acted unconstitutionally in ordering Jaleesa to change her son’s name. Forgety said that there is no basis in the law that justifies changing a child’s name if both parents are in agreement with it. He went on to say that Ballew’s ruling violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Forgety also settled the initial dispute between the parents by ordering that the child take on his father’s last name.
“Everybody’s just happy. I’m glad it’s over with, and I know they are too,” Jalessa said after the ruling.
“I think it’s truly a recognition by the citizens of our country that when a judge oversteps his or her bounds and infringes on the constitutional rights of the people that come in front of them, it’s something that we don’t like, and it’s something that we pay attention to,” said Jaleesa’s attorney, Kristi Davis.