BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — A couple is suing the state of Tennessee for the right to choose the surname for their newborn son. Kim Sarubbi and her husband Carl Abramson named their child Camden Sabr. The last name Sabr is shared by their two older children and is a combination of letters from both of the parents’ last names.
“We had a lot of fun creating the name,” Sarubbi said.
The two older children were born in other states where there was no objection to the newly created surname. But the state of Tennessee won’t allow the name Sabr on the baby’s birth certificate.
Sarubbi said the day after their son was born, she got a call from Tennessee’s Vital Records office. They told her they couldn’t use the name Sabr, because Tennessee law mandates that a baby’s last name has to be either the father’s last name or a combination of both parent’s last names.
The family is suing the state, with help from the ACLU.
“It’s about changing the law. It’s an outdated law,” Sarubbi said.
“It’s a parental right to name your child whatever you want. It has no bearing on the state whatsoever,” Abramson said.
The couple has two other children, Alex and Maya. They were born in other states, where the combined surname was never an issue.
“Our first two children have Sabr. So to have two kids with one name, but we can’t name the other one Sabr. It’s just bizarre,” Abramson said.
State officials declined to comment, citing the pending lawsuit.