MYTH BUSTED! These Baby Names Aren’t BANNED in Wyoming
Rumor has it that some baby names are illegal in Wyoming. Honestly, I'd never considered it when naming my child - I was more concerned about spelling his name right on the birth certificate form. But an expecting friend of mine mentioned that they heard a few names were actually illegal in the Cowboy State the other day.
Now that surprised me. Wyoming strongly supports Freedom of Speech, and I figured naming rights fell into that category. So, I did some digging.
It turns out several baby naming websites report that it is illegal to use special symbols in baby names here in Wyoming - meaning names like D@nny, Ной (Noah), or José. The Bump and BabyMapQuest.com are two such websites that report symbols are banned in Wyoming baby names.
But, those websites are incorrect based on the information I found from Wyoming's Department of Vital Records.
According to Vital Records, "There are no restrictions as to what the last name of the child can be. However, it is recommended there not be any numbers or special characters in the name."
Just to make sure, I checked Wyoming's Title 5 "Public Health and Safety" rules which govern vital records. Title 35-1-410, the section covering birth registration, has no rules indicating banned names in Wyoming. You can find the regulations by clicking here.
So, The Bump got it wrong. You can name your child just about anything here in Wyoming. However, residents are encouraged to avoid special characters like tildes (~), diacritics or accents (ex: ë, è, é, and ê), %, &, etc. But, there are some names banned across the United States due to historical context, software, and social conventions. Some names banned or controversial across the U.S. include:
The name controversially resurfaced in the U.S. in 2008 when a bakery refused to put it on a cake for a Pennsylvania boy named Adolf Hitler Campbell. It's also illegal to name a baby Adolf Hitler in several countries, including Mexico, New Zealand, and Germany.
1069 (and other numbers)
The name was ruled illegal in Ohio in 1999 for the following reason: "The petitioner is seeking more than a name change; he is seeking the identity of an individual that this culture has recognized throughout the world, for well over one hundred years."
Chief, Queen, King, Messiah
Names using titles like Chief and Messiah have faced court battles before. In 1975, a man tried to change his name to Chief Pianki Akinbaloye in New York. It was denied on the grounds that "[T]o permit petitioner's application as proposed would be tantamount to the bestowal of an apparent title of authority. Such indiscretion would tend to confuse those members of the public who might come into contact with the petitioner."
Similarly, a Tennesee judge ruled that a child named "Messiah" needed a name change due to "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" she said. However, that ruling was later thrown out, and the judge was fired due to being based on the judge's religion.
Jesus Christ or Lucifer
Jesus Christ and Lucifer have been ruled banned names in New York. The judge on the case determined, "The court determined that the proposed names "JesusChrist" and "Lucifer" would interfere with the rights of others by causing undue alarm and distress, either forcing them to acknowledge entities in which they do not believe or, alternatively, mocking their religion."