Judge orders toddler's name changed from 'Messiah' - WKRN News 2

Judge orders toddler's name changed from 'Messiah'

Posted: Updated: Aug 11, 2013 09:10 PM
Photo, courtesy of WBIR-TV Photo, courtesy of WBIR-TV
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

A Tennessee mother vows to fight a judge's decision that changed the first name of her baby.

Jaleesa Martin works full-time to support her three sons, Mason, Micah and Messiah, and is also working on keeping her youngest child's name on his birth certificate.

After going to court with Messiah's father because they couldn't decide on a last name, a Cocke County judge ordered the boy's first name to be changed to Martin.

"It's a title that's only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ," Lu Ann Ballew, child support magistrate, said.

Jaleesa was shocked.

"I was like, she really did this to my son, gave him a name that she wanted him to have," she said.

According to a clerk in Cocke County, no written order has been filed yet, and it's been yet days, but just in case, an appeal has already been filed and is set to be heard September 27th.

When asked if she believes the Martin family will win, Kristin Selph, the clerk, believes they have a chance.

"I think the judge inserted her own personal beliefs rather than looking at it from a judicial standpoint and having to be neutral and impartial in making a decision and hopefully the next appeals court will recognize that and set aside this decision," Selph explained.

She added that more than 700 boys were name Messiah, according to the Social Security Index, which strengthens the appeal.

Jaleesa also said, "It's my child.  Everybody names their kids what they want to and you shouldn't judge me for what I name my child, whether you disagree or agree."

The parents hope to win an appeal, but no matter the outcome, they'll keep calling their baby boy what they named him, Messiah.

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