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A Montana couple who lost custody of their daughter after opposing her gender transition have filed a lawsuit alleging that the child was taken by the state’s child protective services without a warrant. Todd Kolstad and his wife Krista claim that social workers did not have a judge sign off on the warrant, thus violating their due process rights. They also allege that their religious freedoms were ignored and their civil rights were violated when CPS placed their daughter in a psychiatric facility in Wyoming instead of Montana and prevented them from communicating with her.

The legal battle began when the couple’s daughter, identified as “H.K.” in court documents, expressed a desire to transition to male. The Kolstads, citing their strong religious beliefs, refused the teen’s request. State officials were alerted when the teen expressed suicidal thoughts at school and was hospitalized after claiming to have ingested harmful substances. The state argued that they were justified in taking custody of H.K. due to the risk of harm, although the couple claims that social workers lied in their affidavit and did not mention their religious beliefs in the court proceedings.

The lawsuit alleges that CPS seized H.K. without a warrant when there was no imminent risk of harm to the child. The Kolstads argue that they were supportive of finding psychiatric care for their daughter as long as it was in Montana, fearing that out-of-state medical professionals might initiate the transition process. However, state officials moved H.K. to a psychiatric facility in Wyoming against the parents’ wishes and prohibited them from contacting their child. The couple believed that Montana had banned medical support for transgender teens, creating concern over the out-of-state treatment.

Following the public scrutiny of the case, Governor Greg Gianforte ordered a review, which found that the courts had followed state policy and law in handling the situation. The governor’s office emphasized that Child Protective Services does not remove minors from homes for gender transition services or use public funds for such services while a minor is in state custody. The lawsuit is ongoing as the couple continues to fight for custody of their daughter, who currently resides with her biological mother in Canada.

The legal battle highlights the complex issues surrounding gender identity and parental rights, as well as the role of state agencies in protecting children. The Kolstads’ case raises questions about the balance between a child’s autonomy and parental beliefs, as well as the extent to which state agencies can intervene in family matters. As the lawsuit unfolds, it remains to be seen how the courts will address the competing interests of the parties involved and what implications the case may have for similar situations in the future. Ultimately, the outcome of this case could have far-reaching consequences for families navigating issues of gender identity and parental rights.

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