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Christian Parents Appeal to US Supreme Court After Losing Custody of Their Trans-Identifying Son

Christian Parents Appeal to US Supreme Court After Losing Custody of Their Trans-Identifying Son

The United States Supreme Court will soon decide whether it will hear the case of a Christian couple from Indiana whose transgender-identifying son was removed from their custody over their refusal to affirm how he identifies.

Jeremy and Mary Cox lost custody of their son in June 2021 after the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) convinced a county court the boy faced physical and emotional danger in their home.

Named simply “A.C.” in legal records, the teenager began identifying as a girl at the age of 16. According to court documents, he began self-isolating, developed an eating disorder, and was in danger of self-harm, purportedly as a result of his parents’ refusal to acknowledge his transgender identity.

A DCS investigator also alleged the parents verbally abused A.C.—allegations they have denied and that were eventually dropped.

The county judge overseeing the case ordered the teen be placed in a foster home where his new gender identity would be affirmed.

While Jeremy and Mary were granted visitation rights to see their son at times of his choosing, they were barred from speaking with him about their Christian views on sexuality.

The Coxes took their case to the Indiana Court of Appeals, where a judge ruled that “a disagreement between parents and a child is not a reason to remove a child from the home”—but that “this is an extreme case where Child has reacted to a disagreement with the Parents by developing an eating disorder and self-isolating, which seriously endangers Child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being.”

“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 Child,” according to the ruling.

The lower court’s gag order on the parents was also upheld, with the appellate judge ruling that it “does not violate the Parents’ free speech rights.”

Jeremy and Mary’s appeal thus being overturned, their separation from their son was made permanent. Now a legal adult, A.C. has aged out of the foster care system and cannot be made to return home.

Even so, after being denied a hearing with the Supreme Court of Indiana, Jeremy and Mary have decided to take their appeal to the nation’s highest court out of fear authorities may come for their other children.

“As a father, I believe one of my main goals is to keep my children safe, and I can’t do that when the state comes into our house and takes our kid because we can’t in good conscience affirm his transgender ideology,” Jeremy explained in a testimonial video earlier this year.

“His disappearance made a huge hole in our hearts and our family, but we will always love him and pray for him.”

In the same video, Mary explains the impact the separation from their son has had on her:

As a mom, having limited access to your children is heart-wrenching. I miss his laugh. I miss being with him, talking with him about everyday things, teaching him how to bake, how to cook different things. There are so many things that we are to our children, not just their first teachers but basically their first loves. To miss out on that during such [a] formative time in his life—we’ll never get that time back.

The couple has also been explicit about why they could not, in good conscience, affirm their son’s self-identity.

“We didn’t pursue an affirmational approach with our child because, first, as Christians, we believe God created us as male and female,” Mary explains. “As parents, it’s our job to help our children to reach their full potential, and the only way we feel to do that is to raise our children through our Christian beliefs.”

Jeremy adds that they “did a lot of research on this subject,” and that while “there are many different approaches and we spoke to multiple mental health care providers … [we] ultimately decided that affirmation was not going to help our child.”

The Coxes are being assisted in their SCOTUS appeal by the Indiana Family Institute (IFI) and IFI attorney Joshua Hershberger.

In their petition, Jeremy and Mary describe their case as “novel and chilling,” and argue that their “deeply held religious beliefs and best judgment” about how they raise their son should not be subject to a “government muzzle.”

“Fit parents have the right to raise their children according to their beliefs and best judgment,” Hershberger has remarked, adding that he hopes the case challenges the “arbitrary and almost absolute power” that courts currently have over parents of transgender-identifying youth.

The Supreme Court hears less than 1 percent of the approximately 10,000 petitions it receives every year. However, given the relevance of the Coxes’ case to cultural developments nationwide, theirs may have a better-than-average chance of being heard.

They expect to hear back by April whether or not SCOTUS will grant their hearing.

The result could have serious ramifications for parents in Indiana and across the country: Will Christians parents face a government intent on separating them from their children? Can parents raise their children with Christian values? Or is the state now the enforcer of transgenderism in the home?

Image credit: YouTube

Kurt Mahlburg
Kurt Mahlburg

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  • Avatar
    December 26, 2023, 8:42 am

    The fact that the child, now an adult, still refrains from engaging with the parents, even after the government's involvement has ended, speaks volumes on its own. Let those who have ears hear, and may the the Christ bring us all shalom.

  • Avatar
    December 26, 2023, 8:59 pm

    sp we now see tht the very government agency tasked with keeping children "safe" have the uthrity to determine a child's sex based upon.. what is it now?
    Perhaps there will soon enough present a case where a child decides he is a meadowlark, and can no longer abide in a wooden house with doors and windows, and be compelled to learn his ABC's, maths, how to put on trousers and shoes, ad insists on flapping his wings and flying about to wherever HE wants to go.
    Soon enough certain states will be proven to be unsafe for christian parents to raise their children according to God's Word. Then what? Mayflower time? But to WHERE?


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