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Warren County families want quick action on transgender name changes

Lawyers for transgender juveniles blocked by a Warren County judge from changing their names want a federal judge to make it happen by the end of the year.

A teleconference has been scheduled for Thursday at 1 p.m. by U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman to determine the status of the case filed earlier this month in federal court in Cincinnati.

The families want the federal court to issue a declaratory judgment, since federal law restricts the court from issuing a temporary injunction against a judge, according to the lawsuit.

RELATED: Federal lawsuit seeks to force Warren County judge to make juvenile transgender name changes

No hearings have been scheduled by Bertelsman, but the court did grant a motion for one family to join the lawsuit anonymously to protect the identity of the child seeking the name change.

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The lawsuit was brought by the parents of a Mason child denied a name change by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Joe Kirby in July and another family. Lawyer Josh Engel said the denials were two of three verbatim rulings on the same issue on the same day.

“They are literally cut and pasted,” Engel said last week.

RELATED: Juvenile court judge says ‘not yet’ to transgender name change

In denying the name changes, the lawsuit claims Kirby denied the children’s constitutional rights under the 14th Amendment.

“This case arises out of the pattern and practice of defendant, acting under the color of state law, of treating transgender minors differently from others similarly situated without a rational basis for doing so in violation of their equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution,” according to the original complaint filed on Aug. 3 in the federal district court in Cincinnati.

Also two Columbus-based lawyers, Aaron Glasgow and J. Stephen Teeter, joined the case in defense of Kirby.

Last week, lawyer Josh Langdon filed an affidavit swearing the founder of the Transgender Health Clinic at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center would advise the federal court of the importance of allowing transgender youths to change their names to reflect their gender change as they deal with other issues they are going through.

Langdon filed his affidavit because clinic founder Dr. Lee Ann Elizabeth Conard “is now prohibited from doing so by her employer,” according to motions filed last week in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Childrens declined to comment on whether it barred Conard from submitting an affidavit in support of the name change lawsuit, and Conard could not be reached.

“The doctor will eventually come in and support us,” said Engel.

Conard is expected to advise the court that any delay is bad for children in midst of medical and other steps designed to enable them to change their gender, the lawyers said in their motion for a speedy hearing.

RELATED: Parents appeal denial of transgender child’s name change

“Any delay really does cause them harm. We’d like to get this done as quickly as possible,” Engel said. “I would like to have the whole case done by the end of year. That’s up to the judge.”

Aside from these issues, the lawsuit could run into problems in expecting a federal judge to interfere in a state judge’s cases, Engel added.

“That’s going to be the real challenge,”he said.

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