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Red state takes child away from parents over ‘improper’ pronouns

A judge's gavel rests on a book of law. (Dreamstime/TNS)
February 21, 2024

Two Catholic parents in Indiana are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court after the state removed their child from their home for refusing to use the child’s preferred name and pronouns.

According to a case summary, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing Mary and Jeremy Cox in “M.C. and J.C. v. Indiana Department of Child Services” as the parents appeal their case to the Supreme Court.

A Becket press release published on February 15 explained that Mary and Jeremey Cox’s son informed them that he identified as a girl in 2019. However, due to the parents’ Catholic belief that “God created human beings with an immutable sex,” they refused to refer to him by his preferred name and pronouns.

The press release noted that an investigation was launched in 2021 by the state of Indiana after Mary and Jeremy Cox refused to refer to their son using his preferred pronouns and name. A state court eventually removed the child from the Cox home and did not return the child despite all allegations of neglect and abuse eventually being dismissed by the courts.

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“This is what every parent is afraid of,” Mary and Jeremy Cox said in last week’s press release. “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 expressed optimism that the Supreme Court would agree to consider their case and provide a ruling that would prevent other American parents from facing the “nightmare” they faced. Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, told Fox News that no parents should have to face what Mary and Jeremy Cox have experienced.

“Keeping a child away from loving parents because of their religious beliefs—even when the state admits there was no abuse or neglect—is wrong and it’s against the law,” she said. “The Court should take this case and make clear that other states can’t take children away because of ideological disagreements.”

Windham told Fox News that removing a child from “loving parents” due to religious beliefs held by millions of other Americans is “an outrage” with regard to the rule of law, the rights of American parents, and “basic human decency.” She warned, “If this can happen in Indiana, it can happen anywhere.”