© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
Christian couple in Indiana petitions SCOTUS after losing custody of their son for refusing to call him a girl
Screenshot of Indiana Family Institute YouTube video (pictured: Jeremy and Mary Cox)

Christian couple in Indiana petitions SCOTUS after losing custody of their son for refusing to call him a girl

A Christian couple in Indiana who lost custody of their son after they refused to abide by his gender identity and preferred pronouns has petitioned SCOTUS to hear their case.

In 2019, Jeremy and Mary Cox of Anderson, Indiana, about 40 miles northeast of Indianapolis, learned that their son, identified only as A.C., had changed his name and begun identifying as a girl. As A.C. was just a young teen and gender ideology conflicted with their Catholic faith, the couple refused to abide by the boy's new name or female identity.

Instead, the parents placed A.C. in therapy to address his gender dysphoria as well as an apparent eating disorder. Meanwhile, they continued to treat him as the biological male he is.

Despite those reasonable parental decisions, the Indiana Department of Child Services removed A.C. from the Coxes' custody and placed him in a "transition-affirming home" two years later, when A.C. was 16. At that point, the Coxes were able to see A.C. only "a few hours once a week" and were prohibited from discussing with him their religiously based views on gender and human sexuality, claimed a statement from Becket, a legal organization that promotes religious freedom and is representing the couple.

The Coxes also claimed that A.C.'s eating disorder — and thus his mental health in general — worsened in the "affirming" environment.

"This is what every parent is afraid of," the Coxes said in a statement. "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."

A state investigation later determined that the Coxes are "fit" parents and that the allegations of child abuse against them were "unsubstantiated," court documents said, but the Indiana Court of Appeals nonetheless upheld the decision to remove A.C. from their home. The state supreme court declined to hear their case.

State officials initially defended the decision to remove A.C. by claiming in court that the boy "should be in a home where she is [ac]cepted for who she is." Now that A.C. has turned 18, they have changed their tune and argued that the case is moot.

Last Thursday, Becket filed a petition for writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Coxes, arguing not only against claims of the case's mootness but also that it "poses a question of national importance that is bound to recur absent this Court’s intervention."

"Given the urgent national debates over parental rights and the treatment of gender dysphoria — debates all parties agree involve important and life-changing questions — the Court should take this uniquely apt vehicle to clarify the rights of parents to share their religious beliefs about gender with their own children," the petition stated.

"We are hopeful that the Justices will take our case and protect other parents from having to endure the nightmare we did," the Coxes added.

Cox Family Testimonial Videowww.youtube.com

SCOTUS has already requested a brief from Indiana officials, a move Becket and the Coxes see as a hopeful sign that it will agree to hear the case. The court is expected to rule on whether to hear the case by June.

Even if the court does accept the case, the ruling will not affect the Coxes' custodial rights over A.C. because he is now an adult. But the couple still wants SCOTUS to affirm the primacy of parental and religious rights and to give them the peace of mind that their other children, who are still minors, will not be similarly taken from their care.

"Multiple studies confirm that an interaction with child services increases the likelihood of future investigations," the petition noted direly.

"If this can happen in Indiana, it can happen anywhere," said Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. "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.

"If the Supreme Court doesn’t take this case, how many times will this happen to other families?"

CBN reached out to the Indiana Department of Child Services and attorney general's office, which is representing the IDCS in the case, for comment.

Like Blaze News? Bypass the censors, sign up for our newsletters, and get stories like this direct to your inbox. Sign up here!

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?