What’s in a name? That’s a question that might be put to any number of celebrities who have given their children unconventional handles. Take actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Barbara Hershey, who named their respective daughter and son Apple and Free. (At age 9, Free Hershey legally had his name changed to Tom, following the example of his mother, who was born Barbara Lynn Herzstein.)
Is there a line that cannot be crossed in the naming of one’s offspring? A New Jersey appeals court thinks so. On Thursday, the court denied Heath and Deborah Campbell custody of their three children, who were taken by the state in 2009. The couple insists that the court’s objection to their regaining custody is the names they chose: Adolf Hitler for their son, and JoyceLynn Aryan Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie for their two daughters in order of birth.
The children were removed from the family home in Philipsburg and placed in foster care after a local bakery refused to decorate their son’s birthday cake. The Campbells complained, focusing public attention on the at-best oddball names they had given their children. Adolf Hitler Campbell at the time was 3.
A TV report from the Philadelphia FOX affiliate states that the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services first became involved when a neighbor claimed the children were being “physically, mentally, and emotionally abused.” But according to Heath Campbell:
Actually, the judge and DYFS told us that there was no evidence of abuse and that it was the names. They were taken over the children’s names.
The Campbells, who wear swastikas tattooed on their skin and decorate their home in “Nazi art,” claim they are neither racists nor Nazi sympathizers. Says Heath Campbell, “This is America, they say it’s free, you have the right to name your child whatever you want to name your child, no matter what.”
The Campbells claim that their First Amendment rights have been abrogated. There seems to be a lot of that going around.
- Man who made incendiary threats on Facebook claims First Amendment protection
- NYC threatens to shut down sexist Orthodox Jewish bus line
- Michigan woman faces jail time for planting vegetable garden in front yard
- Supreme Court rejects ban on sale of “violent” video games to children
- Indiana Supreme Court: citizens have no right to resist unlawful police entry
- Michigan State Police download cell phone data during routine traffic stop
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