House Bill 1407: Disallows state entities to remove psychologically or physically abused transgender children from abusive parental care

UPDATE 02/23/2023 – passed in the house as amended with amendment 2, Referred to the Senate. See senate sponsors. DIGEST OF HB 1407 (Updated February 21, 2023 2:46 pm PDF file: HB1407.03.ENGH-passed-house

UPDATE 02/13/2023 – this bill passed out of committee and will appear before the full house.

House Bill 1407 Disallows state entities to remove psychologically or physically abused transgender children from abusive parental care. Allows non-custodial parents the right to interfere with custodial parents rights to child care if child is transgender.

House Bill 1407
Authored by Rep. Dale DeVon.
Co-Authored by Rep. Chris Jeter, Rep. Robert Heaton, Rep. Lindsay Patterson.
Sponsored by Sen. Aaron Freeman, Sen. Stacey Donato, Sen. Jeff Raatz.

Parental rights. Provides that the state of Indiana, a political subdivision or other governmental entity of the state of Indiana, a government official, or any other person acting under the color of law shall not infringe on the fundamental right of a parent to direct the upbringing, education, health care, and mental health of the parent’s child without demonstrating that the infringement: (1) is required by a compelling governmental interest of the highest order as long recognized in the history and traditions of the state of Indiana; and (2) as applied to the child, is narrowly tailored and not otherwise served by a less restrictive means. Creates a right of action for violation of a parent’s rights with respect to the upbringing, education, and health care of the parent’s child. Provides that a child is not a child in need of services due to the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian: (1) referring to and raising the child consistent with the child’s biological sex; or (2) declining to consent to the child receiving: (A) specified medication; (B) a medical procedure the purpose of which is to alter the apparent gender or sex of the child or affirm the child’s perception of the child’s gender or sex in a manner inconsistent with the child’s biological sex; or (C) counseling or other mental health services the purpose of which is to affirm the child’s perception of the child’s gender or sex if the child’s perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex. Provides that a juvenile court may not enter a dispositional decree ordering removal of a child from the home of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian if: (1) the juvenile court has found the child to be a child in need of services under a specified statutory definition of a child in need of services; and (2) the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child: (A) is a fit parent, guardian, or custodian of the child; and (B) does not consent to the child being removed from the child’s home.

Actions for House Bill 1407
H 02/23/2023 Referred to the Senate
H 02/22/2023 Senate sponsors: Senators Freeman, Donato, Raatz
H 02/22/2023 Third reading: passed; Roll Call 199: yeas 58, nays 33 – PDF file of Roll Call: HB1407.199_H-roll-call
H 02/21/2023 Amendment #2 (Jeter) prevailed; voice vote – PDF file of amendment: HB1407.02.COMH.AMH002
H 02/21/2023 Second reading: amended, ordered engrossed
H 02/20/2023 Placed back on second reading
H 02/16/2023 Second reading: ordered engrossed
H 02/13/2023 Passed out of committee
H 02/06/2023 Representative Patterson L added as coauthor
H 01/31/2023 Representative Heaton added as coauthor
H 01/31/2023 Representative Jeter C added as coauthor
H 01/17/2023 First reading: referred to Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs
H 01/17/2023 Authored by Representative DeVon

Link to PDF File of Introduced Bill: HB1407.01.INTR
Link to PDF File of 2nd Amendment passed: HB1407.02.COMH.AMH002
Link to PDF File of Roll Call Vote: HB1407.199_H-roll-call
Link to PDF File of Senate Version:

News References:

Source: Indy Star – February 10, 2023
House committee OKs bill seen as anti-transgender targeting DCS care

Source: Herald Bulletin – February 12, 2023
GOP advances ‘parental rights’ bill targeting DCS policies for transgender children

Source: WTHR – February 17, 2023
Faith leaders condemn Indiana bills they say are hateful to trans youth

Source: – Feb 21, 2023
‘Parental rights’ bill concerning gender identity in kids sees second reading in House

Source: Indiana Capitol Chronicle – February 23, 2023
House passes bill supporting parents in transgender DCS cases

DCS told the Capital Chronicle that it does not open cases solely because parents don’t support transitions.

In Cox’s case, DCS removed the child after reports of the parents verbally abusing the child and refusing to treat the child’s eating disorder. An October ruling from the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed DCS’ actions.

“The Parents have the right to exercise their religious beliefs, but they do not have the right to exercise them in a manner that causes physical or emotional harm to Child,” the court ruled.

Continue ReadingHouse Bill 1407: Disallows state entities to remove psychologically or physically abused transgender children from abusive parental care

Senate Bill 354 – Outing transgender students in Indiana

Update: This bill will likely be reconciled with House Bill 1608, which not only does it not allow any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 classes, but it specifically encourages bullying and abuse of gender non-conforming children in schools by both students and staff members, and mandates outing gender non-conforming children to their parents.

A new bill authored by Sen. Jeff Raatz would make mandatory outing transgender students to their parents if they request to be called something other than their name or pronouns assigned at birth.

Senate Bill 354
Introduced Senate Bill (S)
Authored by Sen. Jeff Raatz.

Education matters. Provides that a: (1) school that seeks state accreditation; and (2) national or regional accreditation agency that seeks to be recognized by the state board of education (state board); must complete and submit the applicable application form established by the state board. Requires the state board to do the following: (1) Not later than six months after the date a completed application is submitted, approve or deny the accreditation or recognition. (2) If the state board denies an accreditation or recognition, send notice to the school or national or regional accreditation agency stating the reasons for the denial. Requires the department of education to post a copy of the application forms on the department’s website. Requires a public school, including a charter school, to notify the parent of an unemancipated minor, if the student: (1) makes a certain disclosure concerning the student’s gender identity or gender expression to an employee or staff member of the school; or (2) changes, expresses a desire to change, or makes a request to change the student’s name, attire, or pronoun, title, or word to identify the student in a manner that is inconsistent with the student’s biological sex at birth. Requires an employee or staff member of a school to report to the school a disclosure or information described in these provisions to the school.

Actions for Senate Bill 354

S0 1/12/2023 First reading: referred to Committee on Education and Career Development
S0 1/12/2023 Authored by Senator Raatz

Link to downloadable PDF file of the Introduced Bill: SB0354.01.INTR


Indiana General Assembly – Senate Bill 354

Chalkbeat – Indiana bill would require teachers and schools to report student requests to change names, pronouns

Continue ReadingSenate Bill 354 – Outing transgender students in Indiana

House Bill 1232 – Denying child protective services to abused transgender children

UPDATE 02/13/2023 – A similar bill House Bill 1407, passed through the House and was referred to the Senate.

House Bill 1232 would deny Child Protective Services the means to remove psychologically or physically abused transgender children from their parents homes.

House Bill 1232
Introduced House Bill (H)
Authored by Rep. Ryan Lauer.
Co-Authored by Rep. Michelle Davis.

Child removal and gender identity. Provides that the department of child services may not classify a report of child abuse or neglect as substantiated, and a child may not be removed from the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian, solely on the basis of the parent, guardian, or custodian: (1) referring to and raising the child consistent with the child’s biological sex; or (2) declining to consent to the child receiving: (A) specified medication; (B) a medical procedure the purpose of which is to alter the apparent gender or sex of the child or affirm the child’s perception of the child’s gender or sex in a manner inconsistent with the child’s biological sex; or (C) counseling or other mental health services the purpose of which is to affirm the child’s perception of the child’s gender or sex if the child’s perception is inconsistent with the child’s biological sex.

Actions for House Bill 1232
H0 1/12/2023 Representative Davis M added as coauthor
H 01/10/2023 First reading: referred to Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs
H 01/10/2023 Authored by Representative Lauer

Link to PDF File of Introduced Bill: HB1232.01.INTR

News References:

Source: Herald Bulletin
Feb 9, 2023
GOP advances ‘parental rights’ bill targeting DCS policies for transgender children

Source: The Herald Bulletin Editorial Board
Feb 9, 2023
Editorial: Legislature resumes attack on LGBTQ kids

Continue ReadingHouse Bill 1232 – Denying child protective services to abused transgender children

A Family By Choice

By Kathleen Schuckel

Reprinted from The Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS (Sun. Jan. 9, 2000) — Butch Kimmerling adopted his 8-year-old foster child to keep her from becoming a gay man’s daughter. Kimmerling, 52, is now accused of molesting the little girl, and has admitted it.

Even as Kimmerling prepares to go to court soon on 10 felony counts of child molestation, a state lawmaker prepares to introduce legislation to stop gay people from adopting.

State Rep. Woody Burton, R-Greenwood, said he was appalled at Kimmerling’s admissions to molesting the little girl. "That guy ought to be put in jail," he said.

Still, Burton says, that doesn’t mean Kimmerling’s protest against gay adoption was wrong.

Spurred by Kimmerling’s protests over gay adoption, Burton sponsored a bill last year in the General Assembly that would have banned gays or single people from adopting. It didn’t pass, but he plans to re-introduce legislation in 2001.

FAMILY TIME: Craig Peterson and his three sons — (from left) Andrew, Michael and Brandon — share a laugh while reading a storybook before bedtime. Peterson, 39 and a gay man, has overcame many obstacles to adopt three special-needs boys. )

Away from the maelstrom, in a quiet house in Indianapolis, a gay man raises the little girl’s three brothers, ages 4, 5 and 6. They are his sons, now. Even as Craig Peterson tries to shield his boys from the swirling controversies, the intersecting threads still touch them.

Peterson is fighting for the right for his sons to visit their older sister. In fact, he would still like to adopt her or arrange visits between her and her brothers.

"These boys … would love to have a relationship with their sister, and they’ve never been given that opportunity. We talk about her, and we pray for her."

The Kimmerling’s adoption of the boys’ sister was approved — in December, 1998 — even before Peterson’s adoption of his sons was approved. That approval came in September 1999.

"Here, I’m jumping through hoops, and they’re taking hoops down for these people," Peterson said.

Even after the Kimmerlings "won" adoption of the little girl, they continued to fight for a ban against gay adoption.

In a letter to the editor of The Indianapolis Star, published Oct. 13, 1998, Kimmerling and his wife wrote: "Girls need mothers so they can learn what it is to be a woman; they need fathers so they know how to interact with the opposite sex."

Kimmerling later admitted molesting the little girl numerous times before and after that letter was written — "many times since April or May 1998, and the last time on the morning of May 10, 1999," court documents note Kimmerling said.

Two veteran public servants in Madison County — Detective Dale Koons and Judge Fredrick Spencer — weren’t surprised by the molestation charges against Kimmerling.

"Those with the deepest secrets protest the most," Spencer said. He said he knew of numerous instances of child molesters, before they were found out "…said that all molesters should be taken out and shot for their crimes."

Kimmerling’s attorney, John Erickson, said his client has fully cooperated with officials, has had no contact with his daughter and has sought treatment.

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said he plans to try the Kimmerling case himself, rather than hand it to a deputy prosecutor.

Cummings, who himself grew up in foster care in Anderson, moving from home to home and experiencing abuse in some homes, said he takes special interest in this case.

"I want to do it, and I want to make sure it gets done the way I want it done," he said.

Cummings said last month that he didn’t anticipate a plea agreement. Refusing to talk about this case specifically, Cummings said that he saw prison as "the only option" for most child molesters.

Of the 10 counts pending against Kimmerling, two are A felonies, the other eight, C felonies. On each A felony charge, Kimmerling could get 20 to 50 years in prison, and two to eight years imprisonment for each C felony.

The Indiana Legislature won’t be alone in debating the issue of gay adoption.

Controversies surrouding the issue have erupted nationally. Last year, Texas attempted to ban gay adoption, but it failed in the legislature.

However, an aide to Gov. George W. Bush said the presidential hopeful would have signed a law banning gays from adopting.

And just last year, New Hampshire lifted its ban on gay adoption. Previously, foster children weren’t even allowed to spend the night in a home where a homosexual was visiting.

THERAPY: Michael, Andrew and Brandon watch a half-hour of a Disney video before bedtime with their heads in their hands to help strenghten their neck muscles, which are weak from the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. Peterson believes this will result in improving the boys’ attention spans.

While Utah and Arkansas make gay adoptions nearly impossible, Florida is the only state that has an outright ban on gays and lesbians adopting. The law stemmed from Anita Bryant’s 1977 crusade to overturn a gay rights ordinance in Dade County.

Indiana’s Burton is clear in his opposition to gay people becoming adoptive parents.

"I think children need the influence of both a mother and father," said Burton, who said he also plans to introduce other adoption reform bills. "(Children) need two different people with different biological makeups.

"It takes a man and woman to make a child. It takes a man and woman to raise a child."

Burton said children adopted by gays and lesbians are hurt unnecessarily when forced to experience the stigmas and mistreatment gay and lesbian parents receive in society.

Others disagree.

"There is not one credible study out there to demonstrate that children of gay and lesbian parents suffer at the hands of their peers any more than any other kids," said Sean Lemieux, the director of the Project for Equal Rights for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.

"Does that mean we take kids away from overweight parents because they get teased on that basis?"

Steve Kirsh, an Indianapolis lawyer who mostly handles infant adoptions, occasionally works with gay and lesbian couples.

One birth mother purposely chose a gay couple to be her baby’s parents because the child was biracial, Kirsh said. The woman reasoned that the couple had themselves faced prejudice and would be better equipped to raise a child facing prejudice.

In Kirsh’s practice, gay couples have adopted African-American babies, biracial babies or those with disabilities.

He doesn’t think any ban on gay adoption is necessary.

"Given the fact that there are so few gay adoptions taking place and also that gay couples are adopting hard-to-place children, I would think the legislature has more important things to worry about."

Peterson’s sons all have special needs. Because of their birth mother’s use of alcohol during pregnancy, they suffer effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Ron Carpenter knows about children, like Peterson’s sons, who are hard to place. He heads the Children’s Bureau of Indianapolis, which has a contract with the state to help find homes for nearly 2,000 Hoosier children needing homes.

"Special-needs kids take some very special or unique kinds of families," Carpenter said. "Though it would be great to have the ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ family unit stepping forward, it just doesn’t happen."

There are some critics of gay adoption who insinuate that gays are more prone to molest children.

In 17 years on the bench, there is one type of person Judge Spencer in Madison County says he has not seen facing molestation charges: homosexuals.

"I have never seen a known gay person who has been accused of sexually molesting a child," he said.

Burton says he thinks more married couples would adopt, if the state had less red tape and better laws to assist them. That will be part of the legislation he plans to introduce next year.

Judith Myers-Walls, an associate professor of family studies at Purdue University, questioned Burton’s premise that a traditional mother and father are always the best for children.

"We put adoptive parents through a lot more rigor than we do biological parents," she said.

As a result, some studies show that gay and lesbian parents tend to be better quality parents.

"They’re working very hard at parenting. They’re much more conscious of what they do and are careful with decisions because they worry of how they are perceived by others," Myers-Walls said.

Furthermore, kids adopted by gays don’t "become" gay, she said.

Studies show that gay and lesbian parents are slightly less likely to have children who identify themselves as gay or lesbian than heterosexual parents, Myers-Walls said.

Peterson said doesn’t spend much time researching the issues.

Instead, he’s focused most on being a father; providing for his sons’ most immediate needs: good educations and a nurturing home that helps them to grow up kind and successful people.

The father finds sad irony in the fact that Kimmerling, who later admitted being a child molester, fought so hard to prevent him from adopting.

"How could that man say horrible things about me when he’d been doing this to the girl?"

Continue ReadingA Family By Choice

Man Charged With Molesting Adopted Child

according to the Associated Press:

Kimmerling had fought attempt by gay couple to adopt 8-year-old girl

ANDERSON [Indiana] – An Anderson man who gained statewide attention by fighting attempts by a gay couple to adopt an 8-year-old girl under his foster care now is charged with molesting her.

Earl "Butch" Kimmerling, a 51-year-old school bus driver who adopted the girl with his wife, confessed in a videotaped interview to molesting the child, according to Anderson police.

Kimmerling battled a gay couple from Indianapolis when they tried to adopt the girl last year. He and his wife, Sandi, gained support in their fight from religious and political leaders in Anderson and across Indiana.

But Kimmerling now faces four counts of felony child molestation, according to court records. Accounts Kimmerling and his daughter gave police were consistent, Anderson police spokesman Mitch Carroll said.

He was released from the Madison County Detention Center on a $35,000 bond Friday evening and will be arraigned this morning. If convicted, he faces between 20 and 116 years in prison.

Sandi Kimmerling refused to comment and her husband was unavailable Friday night. She filed charges with Anderson police on May 11, Anderson police investigator Dale Koons said.

The girl – now 9 years old – told police the abuse began last April, before the adoption controversy hit its zenith.

The Kimmerlings and their pastor, Brad Brizendine of Center of Faith Church, launched a campaign opposing homosexual adoption last August.

That’s when they found out the girl, who they had cared for over more than five years, would be reunited with her three younger brothers and placed with a homosexual Indianapolis couple.

Anderson Mayor Mark Lawler was one of the couple’s most prominent boosters and attended the adoption finalization at the Kimmerlings’ request. Lawler was unavailable for comment on Friday.

The controversy even extended to the General Assembly, where Republican state representatives Jack Lutz of Anderson and Woody Burton of Greenwood proposed a bill to ban gay adoptions in Indiana.

A bill that would have made it harder for gays to adopt passed the Republican-controlled Indiana Senate, but died in the Democrat-run House.

The Kimmerlings, who have been foster parents since 1991 and shared their home with about 50 foster children, legally adopted the girl Oct. 23. Custody of her three brothers was granted to the two homosexual men.

While there is no protective order against Earl Kimmerling, police said they will make sure he is not able to contact his daughter while the case is under investigation.

"With a case like this, there’s no way we’d allow him to have any contact with her," Carroll said.

Earl Kimmerling moved out of the home after his wife learned of the abuse, and had been cooperating with police, Carroll said.

Andrew Stoner, a spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, called the case tragic. The state will review how Madison County officials evaluate possible foster parents, Stoner said.

"There does need to be a complete review of what went wrong, but right now, I don’t see any indication that they didn’t do everything they could to prevent this," Stoner said.

The investigation is open and may extend to other foster children cared for by the Kimmerlings, Carroll said. It was unclear where the girl was living as of Friday, police and prosecutors said.

Continue ReadingMan Charged With Molesting Adopted Child