March 18, 2024

SCOTUS declines to hear appeal of Indiana couple who lost custody of transgender child

Article origination IPB News
The case itself focuses on the Indiana Department of Child Services’ removal of Mary and Jeremy Cox’s transgender daughter from their care. - Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The case itself focuses on the Indiana Department of Child Services’ removal of Mary and Jeremy Cox’s transgender daughter from their care.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of an Indiana couple who said their transgender daughter was wrongly removed from their care. They said their child’s removal was because of their religion, but lower courts disagree with that claim.

The case itself focuses on the Indiana Department of Child Services’ removal of Mary and Jeremy Cox’s transgender daughter from their care.

She was removed from the Coxes at 16 years old. According to court documents, she was identified as a “child in need of services” following allegations of emotional and verbal abuse after she came out to her parents as transgender.

She also developed an eating disorder, which court documents said were “fueled partly” by her parents’ response to her gender identity.

DCS reported that Mary Cox called her child "the bitch that killed my son." DCS found that the risk of suicide or self-harm was more likely if the child was returned to her parents, and she reported feeling unsafe.

In testimony before lawmakers, Mary Cox said her daughter cut off contact after turning 18.

The Indiana Court of Appeals in October 2022 found that the Coxes’ parental rights were not violated by their child’s removal.

“The parents have the right to exercise their religious beliefs, but they do not have the right to exercise them in a manner that causes physical or emotional harm to [their] child,” the court said in its opinion.
 

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It also said disagreements between parents and a child aren’t a reason to remove a child from a home. Instead, it called the removal “an extreme case” in which that conflict results in harm to a child’s physical and psychological health.

“The court’s decision to continue child’s removal was not a response to the parents’ acts or omissions relating to their beliefs regarding transgender individuals,” the court said in its opinion.

Lauren is our digital editor. Contact her at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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