A couple are taking the US state of Georgia to court after they were banned from naming their daughter Allah.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed the lawsuit in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of the couple, Elizabeth Handy and Bilal Walk.
Georgia’s Department of Public Health refused to grant the 22-month-old child a birth certificate, saying state law requires a baby’s surname to be either to be either that of the mother or father for the initial birth record.
State officials say the child’s name — ZalyKha Graceful Lorraina Allah — should either be Handy, Walk or a combination of the two.
Allah is the Arabic word referring to God.
The couple told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution they gave their child the name Allah because it is “noble” but has nothing to do with religion.
The unmarried couple already have a young son called Masterful Mosirah Aly Allah, the lawsuit states.
“Simply put, we have a personal understanding that we exercise in regards to the names,” Mr Walk told the paper.
“It is nothing that we want to go into detail about, because it is not important. What is important is the language of the statute and our rights as parents.”
The ACLU of Georgia filed the lawsuit on behalf of the couple, who said they can’t get a Social Security number for their daughter because they don’t have a birth certificate.
They also anticipated problems with access to health care, schools and travel, The Journal-Constitution reported.
“It is just plainly unfair and a violation of our rights,” Mr Walk said.
The state’s decision is an example of government overreach and a violation of the First and 14th Amendments, ACLU of Georgia Executive Director Andrea Young said.
“The parents get to decide the name of the child. Not the state. It is an easy case,” said Michael Baumrind, another attorney representing the family.