Judge: Parents Can Name Their Baby 'Messiah'

Judge: Parents Can Name Their Baby 'Messiah'

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The lower court judge who made the controversial ruling that was later overturned The lower court judge who made the controversial ruling that was later overturned
Baby's mother Baby's mother

By TRAVIS LOLLER Associated Press

NEWPORT, Tenn. (AP) -- A Tennessee judge has ruled in favor of parents who want their 8-month-old baby to be named "Messiah."

At a paternity hearing last month, child support magistrate Lu Ann Ballew was asked to decide Messiah Deshawn Martin's surname.

She ended up changing the baby's first name as well, saying that Messiah was a title reserved for Jesus Christ.

That decision quickly made international news.

On Wednesday, Chancellor Telford E. Forgety Jr. overturned that decision, ruling that the lower court acted unconstitutionally. He said the lower court violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The child's mother, Jaleesa Martin, expressed relief after the hearing. She says the original ruling was "ridiculous" and says she is glad the court fight is over.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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