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Tenn. judge changes baby's name from Messiah to Martin without permission

Posted by Kristi Palma  August 13, 2013 09:25 AM

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A Tennessee judge's decision to change a baby's name from Messiah to Martin has shocked a mother and caused thousands of people to post their opinions online about the matter since WBIR-TV published the details of the story over the weekend, reports the Associated Press.

The 7-month-old's mom, Jaleesa Martin, went to court because she and her son's father could not agree on which last name he should have. That's when Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ordered that the baby be called "Martin DeShawn McCullough," rather than his given name, Messiah.

Why did the judge do it? Here is what she told WBIR-TV:

The word messiah is a title, and it’s a title has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ.

Jaleesa Martin told WBIR-TV she "was shocked" about the name change.

I never intended on naming my son Messiah because it means God and I didn't think a judge could make me change my baby's name because of her religious beliefs.

Martin isn't the first person to name her baby Messiah. Messiah was No. 4 among the fastest-rising baby names in 2012, according to the Social Security Administration’s annual list of popular baby names, reports the Associated Press.

Martin said she chose the name because she liked the way it sounds and it goes well with the names of her other sons -- Mason and Micah, reports WBIR. She is appealing the judge's decision and said she will still call her son Messiah.



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Kristi Palma, Boston.com Moms producer, is the mom of a first grader and a preschooler. She is a writer who enjoys cooking her grandmother's Italian recipes (when her son isn't launching paper airplanes into them). Follow her on Twitter @kristipalma.
Jennifer Clark Estes is a teacher, writer, blogger, and the mother of four young children. In her free time, she blogs at A Mom's World, plays with the kids (or chauffeurs them around), and is desperately seeking a quiet spot so she can read a book. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferCEstes.
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