Father Jeff Younger says his son “now subject to being chemically castrated in California,” but Texas judges say that’s not true: “Father misreads California’s new law.”
I think it’s fitting that Legal Insurrection’s and my last post of 2022 concerns transgender disputes. There already is a lot of litigation, including the 11th Circuit decision discussed yesterday which Upholds Florida High School “Separating School Bathrooms Based on Biological Sex”.
There will be a lot more litigation, and in many ways things will come to a head on very private and personal issues, such as bathrooms, showers, sports, and life-altering and irreversible pharmaceutical and surgical interventions on children. Cases have been moving through the system.
One of those cases that has received a lot of attention is the case of Jeff Younger, the father who lost Texas trial court custody proceedings for custody of his minor son James, who he alleged was at risk of gender pharmaceutical or surgical reassignment by his mother. We only covered the case briefly back in 2018, Texas Mom Says 6 Year Old Boy is Transgender, Dad Disagrees and Could Lose Custody.
The trial court awarded full custody to the mother, with prohibitions against unilateral action as to reassigment:
A Texas judge has granted full custody of eight-year-old James Younger to his mother, who has fought publicly to transition her son into a girl against the father’s wishes.
Judge Mary Brown granted full custody to Anne Georgulas in an order on Tuesday, awarding the mother exclusive control over James’s primary residence, counseling, medications, education and extracurricular activities. It allows Georgulas to withhold information from Jeff Younger, James’s father, “regarding the children’s extracurricular activities, school functions, school enrollment, counseling, and medical care.”
However, while Georgulas has the exclusive right to consent to James’s medical procedures, the order notes that that power does not extend to hormone-suppression therapy, puberty blockers, or transgender reassignment surgery.
The video below talks about a joint custody initial decision by the judge, but that appears to have been changed after the father’s failure to pay child support, when the mother was given sole custody.
I don’t know enough about the details of the evidence to opine on it, except that I’ve seen a lot of chatter, particularly on Twitter, about a recent attempt by the father to get the Texas Supreme Court to issue a mandate that the son be returned from California. The father, fearing a California law coming into effect January 1 could make it impossible to stop the medication/surgery, sought emergency relief.
The Supreme Court of Texas will take up the custody case of James Younger, the North Texas child whose mother, Anne Georgulas, insists he identifies as a girl named Luna.
The child’s father, Jeff Younger, objects to that contention, and the parents have fought it out in court for years.
The state’s highest civil court agreed to consider Younger’s December 16 petition for review this week, coming on the heels of Georgulas taking James and his brother Jude to California. The impetus of Younger’s urgency is a California law going into effect at the beginning of 2023.
California Senate Bill 107 will “prohibit the enforcement of an order based on another state’s law authorizing a child to be removed from their parent or guardian based on that parent or guardian allowing their child to receive gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care.”
Younger’s asked the Texas Supreme Court to order Georgulas to return the children to the state.
Please pray that the Texas Supreme Court protects my sons and brings them back to my custody in Texas. https://t.co/mMFb93Yta7
— Jeff Younger (@JeffYoungerTX) December 28, 2022
The Texas Supreme Court denied the petition in an order released December 30, 2022:
There was an opinion concurring in the denial which explains a lot about why the petition was denied, and also explains many of the details as to why the California law in question does not trump or negate the Texas court order prohibiting unilateral reassignment medication or surgery. While it’s not an opinion of the full court, it likely reflects why relief was denied.
Here are relevant excerpts from the Concurring Opinion:
I concur in the Court’s denial of the petition because Father is already in possession of a court order prohibiting Mother from doing precisely what he fears she will do with his son. In October 2021, the district court—with Mother’s full agreement, and indeed at her request—ordered that:
neither parent may treat a child with hormonal suppression therapy, puberty blockers, and/or transgender reassingment surgery (if any) without the consent of the parents or court order.
This agreed order is binding on both parents and enforceable by contempt, no matter where they reside. The effect of the order is that neither parent has the legal authority to consent unilaterally to gender-transition therapy for their son, whether that therapy takes place in California, Texas, or elsewhere. As long as this order is in effect, Mother’s parental rights do not include the right to obtain gender-transition therapy for her son. That is just as much the case in California as it is in Texas. Mother freely acknowledges that she is bound by this order in both Texas and California…
The Concurring Opinion then explains that the new California law does not apply to an out-of-state court order:
Father believes that California’s enactment of Senate Bill 107, which goes into effect on January 1, 2023, will enable Mother to evade the Texas court order prohibiting her from unilaterally consenting to gender-transition therapy. Father misreads California’s new law. By my reading of SB 107, Father’s fears are no more likely to be realized in California under SB 107 than they were before the bill’s enactment….
Thus, SB 107—both as advertised and as written—is California’s response to other states’ legislative enactments or administrative rules outlawing gender-transition therapy. While SB 107’s position on other states’ laws is clear, I see no provision in the bill that would alter the enforceability, in California, of a Texas court order requiring divorced parents to agree before subjecting their child to gender-transition therapy.
Father reads SB 107’s prohibitions on the enforcement of another state’s “law” against gender-transition therapy as a prohibition on enforcement in California of court orders limiting access to such therapy. It is not. A court order allocating the parental rights of divorced parents based on case-specific judicial findings about the best interests of their children is in no way “a law of another state.” And in the very unlikely event California’s courts interpreted their statute in such an odd way, they would of course run head long into the Full Faith and Credit Clause. U.S. CONST. art. IV § 1….
While SB 107 treads close to territory prohibited by the Full Faith and Credit Clause—and ultimately may be found to transgress it in various ways—nowhere does the bill purport to prevent enforcement in California of out-of-state child-custody orders establishing which parents may consent to gender-transition therapy….
Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), a version of which is the law in both California and Texas, a California court is obligated to respect a Texas court’s custody orders and cannot modify the Texas court’s orders unless the Texas court relinquishes jurisdiction—an action reviewable by mandamus….
Those are the legalities considered by the Texas Supreme Court, but I have a feeling this footnote is a window into both the litigation and the various courts’ rulings, including the prior issue of non-payment of child support:
6 With regard to these children’s best interests, I find it troubling that Father has refused to see either of his children in over a year despite abundant opportunities to do so.
So there you go. The Concurring Opinion is at odds with how Jeff Younger has portrayed the court loss:
The Supreme Court of Texas denied my Mandamus, effectively terminating my parental rights. My children are now subject to being chemically castrated in California. Texas is an empire of child abuse, led by Texas judges.
— Jeff Younger (@JeffYoungerTX) December 31, 2022
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