For now 'troubling trend' is here for parents who refuse to say 'xe/xir'

For now 'troubling trend' is here for parents who refuse to say 'xe/xir'

For now 'troubling trend' is here for parents who refuse to say 'xe/xir'

After the United States Supreme Court refused to take up a transgender custody case from Indiana, an attorney representing a devastated mother and father predicts the high court can’t ignore the volatile issue forever.

The ongoing legal battle involves the Cox family, a devout Catholic family led by husband and wife Mary and Jeremy Cox. Their ongoing fight is with a state agency, Indiana Department of Child Services, which removed their teenage son from the home in 2021 after the parents refused to recognize him as a female.

Lori Windham, senior counsel with Becket Law, tells AFN the parents refused to use pronouns and a female first name because of their religious faith. Their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which laid out a First Amendment argument, came after a federal appeals court ruled against them in 2022.

Windham, Lori (Becket) Windham

Becket’s petition for a hearing, known as writ of certiorari, was rejected by the high court without giving a reason, according to The Christian Post.

The petition asked the nine justices to address the question, “When can the state muzzle parental speech and remove a child from the home of admittedly fit parents?”

According to Becket, during state-granted visitation with their son, the parents were ordered by a state court to refrain from sharing their religious views on sex and gender with him, which the parents say restricted their First Amendment rights.

Becket also says Indiana investigators admitted in a court hearing the state’s allegations of abuse and neglect against the parents were unsubstantiated.

“This is a troubling trend,” Windham tells AFN, “that state officials can take children from loving families because the families don't agree with their beliefs about gender and sex."

Laura Slavis, another Becket attorney, has warned in past months that refusing to hear the appeal would set a “dangerous precedent” for other parents across the nation who could watch their children be removed from their homes, too. 

Despite the high court’s decision, which came March 18, Windham predicts the nation’s highest court will eventually be forced to take up the issue.

“This is only going to continue to happen,” she predicts.