Tenn. Judge Who Ordered Couple to Change Their Baby’s Name is Fired

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Judge fired after ordering couple to change baby name The Tennessee judge who ordered a couple to change their baby boy’s name from Messiah to Martin was fired on Tuesday, according to court officials.

Although no legal documents are claiming that the religious-based ruling was cause for termination, the judge had been in hot water before for ruling with a religious bias.

The presiding judge of the state’s fourth judicial district, Judge Duane Slone, terminated Child Support Magistrate Lu Ann Ballew of Cocke County, a few months after the name-change ruling was overturned.

Ballew shocked the child’s parents back in August when she turned a case about the baby’s last name, into a ruling about the child’s first name.

Jaleesa Martin and Jawaan McCullough were in court to determine what the baby’s last name would be, but Ballew returned with a ruling ordering them to change the child’s name to Martin, saying only Jesus can be called 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 told a Tennessee television station after the ruling.

Messiah baby name judge is fired

She also said that the name places “an undue burden” on the 7-month-old, and would offend many residents of Cocke County which has a large Christian population.

The decision soon made international news and put Ballew in the middle of a controversy.

In March, Ballew will be facing a court hearing of her own based on allegations that she violated Tennessee’s Code of Judicial Conduct, which  requires that all judges rule without bias or prejudice.

Ballew insists that her ruling was not in any violation of the code of conduct.

Slone has not publicly commented on Ballew’s termination, however, a new magistrate has already been appointed.

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