Tuesday, March 19, 2024

SCOTUS turns down appeal of parents who lost custody of trans teen

I am not a fan of the current Supreme Court because of how it seems to put religious beliefs on an undeserved pedestal.  However, in this particular case, SCOTUS made the right decision. In rejecting this appeal, the Court is saying, at least for now, that the religious beliefs of the parents don't supersede the health and well-being of their child.

 From USA Today:

The Supreme Court declined to decide Monday whether an Indiana couple who believe children should be raised based on their sex at birth should have lost custody of their teenager, a transgender girl. The court, without comment, rejected an appeal from the teen’s parents, who had warned that cases similar to theirs are likely to reoccur “due to developing conflicts between parents and their children concerning gender identity.” 

 “With increasing frequency, governments run roughshod over parents’ religious beliefs on gender identity, including removing children from parents, favoring certain beliefs in divorce custody disputes, and preventing adoptions,” lawyers for Mary and Jeremy Cox of Anderson, Indiana, told the court in their appeal. “These cases are sure to proliferate.” 

 The state said the parents, who are self-described devout Christians, lost custody not because of their views but because of the medical necessity of addressing the teen’s severe eating disorder. A provision of Indiana law that is similar to statutes in nearly every state allows government intervention in “a variety of situations in which even well-intentioned parent find themselves unable to prevent serious harm,” the state told the court. 

 Indiana also argued that the custody dispute is no longer relevant because the teen, who was 16 when removed from the home, is now an adult. 

 The LGBTQ news site Them also added several other details about the case:

 The case stretches back to 2019, when Mary and Jeremy Cox of Anderson, Indiana said their child — then 14 years old — came out to them as a trans girl. As PBS affiliate WFYI reported, the Coxes, both self-described devout Christians, refused to accept their child’s identity, a sustained conflict that lawyers for the Department of Child Services (DCS) say eventually led to the child developing a severe eating disorder and both parents losing custody in 2021. 

 The Indiana Court of Appeals in 2022 upheld the DCS decision to remove the child from her parents’ care, finding that her eating disorder was directly linked to emotional distress and lack of support at home. Mary Cox’s comments to her child included the statement that “[child’s preferred name] is the bitch that killed my son,” according to the ruling. 

The court determined that the custody order was necessary to protect the child’s physical and emotional health, and while the Coxes are free to express their religious beliefs, “they do not have the right to exercise them in a manner that causes physical or emotional harm to [their] Child.”