NEWPORT, Tenn., Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A Tennessee appeals court overturned a lower court judge's ruling that a woman may not name her child Messiah because it is a title only Jesus has "earned."
The case began when Jaleesa Martin, of Newport, Tenn., and the child's father, who was not identified, could not agree on the child's last name. Martin had settled on Messiah as her son's first name, WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., reported Wednesday.
Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew ruled the child's name should be Martin DeShawn McCullough, incorporating both parents' last names but dropping Messiah.
"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," Ballew said.
An appeals court overturned Ballew's order, saying she does not have the authority to decide the child's first name, only the last name disputed by the parents.