A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed against a Warren County judge over his denial of transgender name change requests.
Judge William Bertelsman ordered the lawsuit “dismissed and stricken from the docket of this court” on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.
“The proper way to challenge an adverse judgment is to appeal, not to sue the judge. Plaintiffs here have appealed Judge Kirby’s decision not to grant their child’s name change to the Ohio Court of Appeals. This is the appropriate way to proceed,” Bertelsman said in his opinion and order.
Lawyers for Judge Joe Kirby urged Bertelsman to throw out the case in a motion filed last month and a hearing early this month.
Three Warren County families claimed Kirby discriminated against them by rejecting name changes sought for their transgender children in juvenile court in Warren County.
Kirby’s lawyers’ motion gave Bertelsman five reasons to dismiss the case, including a law preventing federal judges from interfering in state court cases.
“Federal courts are not to act as courts of appeal over the decisions of state courts,” lawyer Aaron Glasgow wrote in the motion filed on Friday in U.S. District Court. That was in reference to the one case on which Kirby has already ruled and is on appeal in the Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown.
Stephanie and Kylen Whitaker filed for a name change on April 24 in Warren County Juvenile Court on behalf of their 15-year-old child.
The judge said the change was not “reasonable and proper and in the child’s best interest at this time.”
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