Texas judge grants ACLU request for temporary restraining order from child abuse investigation against transgender child and his or her parents

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas and the LGBTQ civil rights organization Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of the parents of a transgender girl. The child’s mother, an employee of the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), was suspended from work because last week legal opinion Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that gender-affirming treatments and procedures for transgender children could constitute a form of child abuse.

Paxton’s legal comments prompted Governor Greg Abbott to direct DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters “to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation into any reported instances of abusive procedures.” this is in the State of Texas.”

Judge Amy Clark Meachum ordered that the family named as the plaintiff in the case “will suffer irreparable harm” unless the defendants – Abbott and DFPS Commissioner Jaime Masters – are restricted from investigating the allegations. families with transgender children.

Without the temporary restraining order, Meachum writes, the plaintiffs – identified as Jane, John and Mary Doe – would face “imminent and ongoing deprivation of their constitutional rights, potentially loss of necessary medical care and the stigma attached to being the subject of an unfounded child abuse investigation.”

Additionally, Meachum writes that if Jane Doe, a DFPS employee, is placed on the Child Abuse Registry as a result of the investigation, she “could be incapacitated and both Jane and John Doe could lose their ability to practice. can all lose the ability to work with minors and volunteers in their communities.”

Abbott and Paxton are listed as candidates in Republican primaries takes place on Tuesday. Abbott won the gubernatorial primaries, and Paxton will advance to a runoff.

Complaint on behalf of a DFPS employee

According to the ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuit, the plaintiffs were identified as clinical psychologist Dr. Megan Mooney and “supportive” parents, “Jane and John Doe,” and subsequent friends of the family. “Mary Doe,” age 16. -age transgender girl diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is psychological distress that occurs when a person’s gender identity and assigned sex at birth do not match. American Psychiatric Association.

Jane Doe, a DFPS employee, asked her employer to clarify how the governor’s order would affect agency policy, according to the lawsuit. She was then placed on leave “because she has a transgender daughter with a medical need to treat gender dysphoria,” the lawsuit says. DFPS Child Protective Services visited the plaintiff’s home after being told they were under investigation, the lawsuit said.

Texas AG declares child sex confirmation procedures child abuse, legal opinion says

Jane Doe is on leave pending the results of the DFPS investigation, court documents said. According to the complaint, if an investigation finds the parents engaged in abusive behavior, they will be placed in the Child Abuse Registry and subject to all effects resulting from such placement.” Jane Doe could also face termination and, as a result, loss of her family’s health care coverage, the lawsuit says.

The plaintiffs allege Abbott and Masters attempted to “legislate by press release” after the Texas legislature “failed to pass legislation that would criminalize medically necessary treatment for adolescents with gender dysphoria.”

CNN has reached out to the governor’s office, Masters and Paxton for comment.

President Joe Biden issued Abbott’s order to DFPS, calling the move “a dangerous and cynical campaign targeting transgender children and their parents.”

“Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced several actions to keep transgender children in Texas and their families safe – prompting the state of Texas to note that discriminatory actions by they put children’s lives at risk,” Biden wrote in a statement. “These notices make it clear that instead of weaponizing services that protect children from loving families, child welfare agencies should expand access to sex-affirming care for children.” transgender children.”

In a series of tweets Wednesday, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra called the Texas order “discriminatory and unconscionable,” warning that “these actions are clearly dangerous to the health of transgender youth in Texas.”

Attorneys Debate the Language of Paxton’s Legal Opinion

Meachum, of the 201st District Civil Court, heard arguments Wednesday morning from an attorney for Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ civil rights organization, asking for a temporary restraining order as part of a lawsuit with the ACLU, claims the ACLU. DFPS has begun investigating the families of transgender people. youth.

Lambda Legal’s attorney, Paul Castillo, argued that his client faced immediate and irreparable harm from the investigations. He said he is aware of at least two other families, in addition to the family mentioned in the lawsuit, who are facing investigations.

Texas began investigating the parents of transgender teenagers for child abuse, according to a lawsuit.  A parent working in the department participates in the investigations

Ryan Kercher, an attorney for Paxton’s office, argued that the state was not seeking to investigate “every transgender youth or every … youth who is undergoing these types of treatments and procedures.” Kercher argues that the language of opinion is intentionally “fabricated” to say that this type of health care “could be” or “could be” a form of child abuse, particularly if “lack of consent.”

The judge said she would issue her decision late Wednesday after fully reviewing the arguments and documents.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported the terms of the temporary restraining order. This order applies only to plaintiffs in the ACLU case.

CNN’s Gregory Lemos, Andy Rose and Raja Razek contributed to this report.

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