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Judge considering whether to hear transgender teens' name change lawsuit

Posted at 5:22 PM, Oct 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 06:33:45-04

CINCINNATI -- Three transgender teenagers who hope to change their legal names will have to continue waiting.

District Court Judge William Bertelsman said Wednesday that he won't release his decision about whether to hear the case until next week at the soonest.

The families of the three teens are suing Warren County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Joseph Kirby, who issued a ruling earlier this year refusing to allow a 15-year-old's wanted name change. They allege that Kirby "has a pattern of treating name change requests from transgender adolescents differently than other name requests."

In the decision, Kirby infers the teenager wanted the name change to copy Caitlyn Jenner. In addition to the lawsuit, that prompted outrage from the transgender community, and even a response from Jenner herself in a Facebook video.

"It's come to my attention that a judge in Ohio thinks I'm brainwashing kids into becoming trans," she said.

The teen's parents said they're concerned the name change refusal puts their child at risk of being outed in the future.

Most of the arguments made Wednesday were about federal proceedings, like whether Kirby is protected by judicial immunity.

The plaintiffs said the lawsuit is necessary to get the case in federal court and heard on its constitutional merits. The defendants said it could set a dangerous precedent allowing people upset with court rulings to skip appellate courts.

Bertelsman will decide whether to dismiss the case, hear it or abstain and allow the state to decide.