Catholic parents appeal to Supreme Court after son was removed from Indiana home over refusal to 'affirm' gender identity

The child was kept in the foster care system until he aged out. 

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
A Catholic couple in Indiana is appealing to the Supreme Court after their son was removed from their home over their refusal to use cross-sex pronouns for him. They intend to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to stop states from obliterating parents' rights in the name of gender ideology.

"We are hopeful that the Justices will take our case and protect other parents from having to endure the nightmare we did," the parents said. The child was kept in the foster care system until he aged out. Legislation of the type that was used against these parents is on the books in many states, with proposals in others.

Mary and Jeremy Cox are represented in the case by Becket Law, which stated that "On February 15, 2024, Becket and Hershberger Law Office filed a reply brief at the Supreme Court on behalf of the parents, asking the Justices to strike down the Indiana court rulings and protect the right of all parents to raise their children consistent with their religious beliefs."

Indiana began investigating the Coxes in 2021, and found that the parents did not "affirm" their son's false belief that he was female, and removed the boy from their care—never returning him. Instead, the state placed him in a home with people who called him by the wrong pronouns. The parents were also prevented from talking to their son about God or human sexuality during their visits. The courts allowed the state to remove the child from his parents' home over this disagreement on the nature of biological sex. 

It was in 2019 that the Coxes son told them he identified as trans. The Coxes sought mental health help both for the false belief that he was female and an underlying eating disorder.

The child began seeing a therapist. That mental health system, the Coxes say, was heavily biased in favor of gender transition. Shortly thereafter, a report arrived with the state of Indiana stating that the Coxes were not using the child's "preferred pronouns."

Indiana took the child away from the Coxes, placed him in a separate home, and have only allowed restricted visitation of only a few hours once per week. They have not allowed the Coxes to pass on their religious beliefs to their son. The boy's eating disorder only worsened once he was removed from his family's care.

"This is what every parent is afraid of. We love our son and wanted to care for him, but the state of Indiana robbed us of that opportunity by taking him from our home and banning us from speaking to him about gender," Mary and Jeremy Cox said.

The courts disagree. In the initial proceeding, officials from Indiana said that the boy "should be in a home where she is [ac]cepted for who she is." In essence, the court decided that the boy was trans. 

After the investigation was completed, Indiana dropped the allegations against the Coxes, but still kept the child out of the home. Their argument was that the disagreement over gender identity led to the eating disorder, despite the fact that the two were concurrent and that the eating disorder had continued and worsened after he was taken from his parents.

Indiana still kept the child away from his parents even after determining that no abuse had taken place, and this was upheld upon appeal. 

"If this can happen in Indiana, it can happen anywhere. Tearing a child away from loving parents because of their religious beliefs, which are shared by millions of Americans, is an outrage to the law, parental rights, and basic human decency," said Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. "If the Supreme Court doesn’t take this case, how many times will this happen to other families?"

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