When Minnesota mother Annmarie Calgaro tried to sue her transgender daughter for transitioning, the state courts did not acknowledge her claim as valid, repeatedly siding with the daughter instead. However, Calgaro – aided by the anti-LGBTQ Thomas More Society – will now be taking her case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, alleging that she was not properly notified about her child’s health care.
Although the case may sound deceptively straightforward on the surface, it involves multiple complex facets of family law and health care law in the United States – and it has the potential to affect LGBTQ rights across the country. Our attorney Joe Tamburino recently joined radio host Jearlyn Steele on WCCO Radio to discuss the case, during her “Steele’s Talkin’” 7 PM segment on August 4th.
Understanding Minnesota’s Emancipation Laws
When Calgaro’s daughter (identified only as EJK to protect her privacy) came out as gay at 13, she allegedly endured physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her mother. By the age of 15, EJK was left almost entirely on her own when her biological father was sent to jail, and from there she stayed with a series of friends and relatives. During this time period, EJK supported herself with two jobs, and Annmarie Calgaro had appeared to cede all parental control and custody of her child. EJK then sought to transition from male to female at 16, filing a name change with the county district court and receiving hormone treatments on government assistance.
While talking with Jearlyn Steele, Attorney Tamburino noted that Minnesota law views most minors who live apart from their parents as emancipated, and there is a law that allows them to seek medical care on their own. This is the same law that Ms. Calgaro challenged with her subsequent lawsuit, claiming that her own due process rights were violated when EJK was allowed to seek transgender health services.
How Will This Case Affect LGBTQ Rights?
Even after being denied multiple times by the Minnesota state court system and the Eighth Circuit Court, Ms. Calgaro and the Thomas More Society have stated that they will be taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court now, submitting a Writ of Certiorari on August 2nd. Depending on whether the U.S. Supreme Court accepts the case, it could have serious ramifications for the LGBTQ community.
On “Steele’s Talkin’” 7 PM, Attorney Tamburino observed that it was very unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court would look into the issue, because EJK already became a legal adult back in 2017. However, if the Court does take up the case as a matter of constitutional rights, transgender advocates fear that a supportive decision will give parents broad legal room to override their children’s bodily autonomy.
As Tamburino noted: “I would be very fearful in the transgender community, because this is another cut that they… could potentially receive, which would jeopardize their rights.”
Do you have questions about a similar case in Minnesota? Contact Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. at (612) 444-5020 to speak with one of our skilled attorneys.