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Lawsuit dismissed against Ohio judge who denied name changes to transgender teens

CLEVELAND — The US District Court in Ohio ruled this week that a judge can’t be sued for denying the name changes of three transgender teens.

The teenagers were suing because of what seemed like a pattern of denials. All of the teens had the support of their parents both in the lawsuits and in changing their names.

Jurist.com reported that Stephanie and Kylen Whitaker sued Judge Joseph Kirby when he refused to approve a name change for their transgender child. Ohio law requires that name changes be approved by the probate court.

Kirby “denied the application on the ground that the minor plaintiff was too immature to take such a drastic step at the present time.” He used the same reasoning for denying to other name changes. The only approval this year in Warren County, Ohio was done by magistrate

The Whitakers appealed the result in state court, but also brought this action in federal court claiming the procedures used by Kirby denied equal protection for transgender persons, Jurist reported. The Whitakers specifically mentioned extensive embarrassing questions as unnecessary procedures.

The court on Tuesday held that judicial immunity applied in this case.

The proper way to challenge an adverse judgment is to appeal, not to sue the judge. Plaintiffs here have appealed Judge Kirby’s decision not to grant their child’s name change to the Ohio Court of Appeals. This is the appropriate way to proceed.

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