A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Minnesota mother who accused school officials, health care providers and doctors of violating her parental rights for letting her daughter undergo a sex change without her permission.
Senior U.S. District Judge Paul A. Magnuson tossed out the suit on Tuesday, calling its claims “meritless,” the Minnesota Star Tribune reported.
Anmarie Calgaro made international headlines last year after she sued her 17-year-old transgender daughter, as well as multiple state agencies for their role in assisting the teenager—who goes by the initials E.J.K— transition from male to female.
“I was not consulted or informed about this in any way” she told the press at the time.
Her lawsuit challenged a Minnesota law that allows minors to access medical care and procedures without their parent’s consent.
Calgaro claims that Park Nicollet and Fairview Health Services—two named defendants in the suit—began providing E.J.K with hormone therapy without her consent in November last year.
When Calgaro asked the clinics for E.J.K.’s medical records, they refused, she says. According to the suit, St. Louis County School District also rejected her request to access her daughter’s school records.
At the heart of the case lies E.J.K’s legal emancipation from her mother. Minnesota does not have a formal process to determine children’s emancipation from their parents, but the law generally considers financially independent minors who live separated from their parents to fall under that definition.
E.J.K. moved out of her mother’s home in St. Louis County in 2015 to go live with her relatives and has refused to move back ever since. She currently lives alone and is technically considered legally emancipated.
Calgaro jumped on that point and said health care providers and the school district had willingly deprived her of her parental rights when they began helping E.K.J after determining she was an emancipated minor. In her complaint, Calgaro claims that St. Louis County gave her daughter government assistance in the form of medical payments to cover her treatment.
But Judge Magnuson rejected Calgaro’s accusations as “distracting” because its not legally possible for these agencies to “terminate” her rights. Under Minnesota law, a minor child is not emancipated until a state court says so, the judge said.
Calgaro continues to have the physical and legal custody of her child, he pointed out.
“Even assuming defendants determined E.J.K. emancipated—as the court must do at this stage of litigation—defendants’ emancipation determinations did not terminate Calgaro’s parental rights. Only a court order can do so.”
Magnuson also defended St. Louis County and its school district saying that Calgaro had failed to provide any evidence that they intentionally deprived her of her parental rights without due process.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Calgaro’s attorney Erick Kaardal said she was considering an appeal.
One of E.J.K.’s attorneys welcomed the judges’ decision, saying it “shows the resilience of transgender youth and the importance of access to appropriate health care.”
“The law protects all young people, including transgender young people, and we are pleased that this outcome supports her access to essential health care and other critical service,” said Orr, a staff attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Transgender Youth Project in San Francisco.