In November 2016, Minnesota mother Anmarie Calgaro sued her 17-year-old daughter and a few other health clinics and family agencies for helping her daughter transition genders. Now, seven months later, a judge has thrown out the lawsuit.
The details of the case were dramatic. The daughter (referred to as E.J.K. in court memos) was a legally ’emancipated minor’, a legal term for when a court or other legal entity declares a child and parent as legally free of obligations to one another, usually resulting from some form of parental abandonment or neglect.
In the case of E.J.K., the daughter said that her mother struggled with substance abuse and that, upon coming out as gay at age 13, she abused E.J.K. with the help of her stepfather. At age 15, her mother gave her permission to move in with her biological father, but then her dad was incarcerated soon after, compelling E.J.K. to move in with her grandmother and then some friends before finally moving into an apartment on her own.
From an early age, E.J.K. demonstrated a high capacity for self-care, making her own meals, dressing herself, going to school and relying on occasional assistance from other adults. She also identified as a girl from a young age and began transitioning in the summer of 2015.
In a November press conference, Calgaro said, ”I was not pressured in any way by my providers to consent to this treatment. My providers had no involvement in my decision not to involve my mother in my health care decisions.”
According to Gay Star News, Calgaro sued her daughter, “Saint Louis County, two nonprofit health care providers, the Saint Louis School Board, the principal at her daughter’s school, and the director of the county’s Health and Human Services agency.”
However, E.J.K. told the courts, ”I was not pressured in any way by my providers to consent to this treatment. My providers had no involvement in my decision not to involve my mother in my health care decisions.”
The initial court hearings listened to whether or not Calgaro had legal standing to sue her daughter. In court documents, Calgaro referred to E.J.K. as her son, using male pronouns throughout.
Judge Paul Magnuson threw the case out on the basis that E.J.K. and other agencies operated under state law and did not violate Calgaro’s nonexistent parental rights.
However, Calgaro and her lawyers from Thomas More Society, “a conservative, pro-life Chicago law firm,” have pledged to take the case to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Meanwhile, E.J.K. has since turned 18 and received two acceptance letters into college nursing programs. Her lawyers think her mother’s case is a long shot. Even if Calgaro eventually wins, it would be through a summary judgement determined by a judge’s review with a payment from the parties held responsible.