No Clearly Established Right Not to Have Gov’t Disclose Your Gender Identity to Your Spouse (+ Some Others)

This is Judge Damon Leichty’s opinion on Tuesday Gray v. Doe (N.D. Ind.It is combined with an older opinion (to which it refers):

John Doe was born a female, and is now transitioning to male. Detective Adam Gray from Starke County Sheriff’s Department revealed John Doe’s gender identity in an A.B. [wife]The other person was said to have been unaware. John Doe asserts that Detective Gray disclosed this information to Katherine Purtee who is a Family Case Law Manager at the Indiana Department of Child Services. Katherine Purtee then shared it with A.B.’s children….

Protection is provided for officials [by qualified immunity]Civil liability is exempted “insofar their conduct doesn’t violate clearly established constitutional or statutory rights which a reasonable individual would have known.” … The concept of ordered liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause has been interpreted to include “the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters.” Whalen v. Roe (1977). (1977). Whalen to recognize a constitutional right to the privacy of medical, sexual, financial, and perhaps other categories of highly personal information—information that most people are reluctant to disclose to strangers—and have held that the right is defeasible only upon proof of a strong public interest in access to or dissemination of the information.” …

John Doe does not cite to any closely analogous cases to show that a Fourteenth Amendment right to keep his … gender identity private from disclosure to his spouse, his spouse’s children, or foster parents by state authorities was clearly established…. Knowledge that the disclosure of medical information in some circumstances might be unconstitutional is simply not enough to show that Detective Gray and Case Manager Purtee would know, or should have known, that what they disclosed to these individuals under these circumstances was unconstitutional…. John Doe, A.B. A.B. Therefore, Detective Gray is entitled to qualified immunity.

The incident was triggered by Doe’s arrest and Doe’s wife A.B. This apparently explains why Detective Gray discovered Doe’s gender identity.

John Doe, and A.B.John Doe and A.B. John Doe, a transgender man who was also born a woman, is being charged with felony neglect of a dependent. John Doe and A.B. A.B. R.M. was interviewed on February 1, 2018 by Detective Gray, Case Manager Purtee and Purtee. [age 17]A.B. was notified. His biological mother, A.B.He was abandoned by his biological and adoptive parents.

R.M. R.M. John Doe kicked R.M. John Doe kicked R.M. His sister had snuck out an evening. John Doe warned him that he would not be coming home via a telephone call. John Doe was not alone in this. kicked R.M. The house was evacuated. R.M. From January 22nd, 2018, until the time of John Doe’s arrest and A.B.’s arrests on February 7, 2018…. R.M. R.M. John Doe believed he was molestation R.M.’s sisters…. [At a later interview,] R.M. spoke more about his knowledge of John Doe’s previous name, biological sex, and his concerns about John Doe abusing his sisters….

John Doe, and A.B.After John Doe and A.B. April Moore was A.B. Case Manager Purtee reached out to April Moore.To inquire about custody,’s sister, Case Manager Purtee, contacted April Moore (A.B.”—or, at least as plaintiffs allege, she disclosed John Doe’s “[gender identity].” Ms. Moore had no prior knowledge of John Doe’s … gender identity. Tracy Patrick, Tracy’s foster mother, was the case manager and she dropped two children to Purtee. [gender identity]To her. While visiting R.M. R.M. (A.B.(A.B. Brewer’s home, Case Manager Purtee allegedly revealed John Doe’s identity. [gender identity]J.M. Ms. Brewer.

A.B. was interview by Detective Gray, February 8, 2018. R.M. was interviewed by Detective Gray to find out the facts.R.M.’s extended stay at Ms. Brewer’s house, and R.M.The allegation that Brewer had sexually assaulted him. During Detective Gray’s interview with A.B., he stated John Doe was born Barbara B., he was born female, and did not have male genitalia—or, as John Doe and A.B. According to Detective Gray, John Doe was born Barbara B. and he did not have male genitalia. [gender identity]. A.B. According to Detective Gray, A.B. …

Court ruled there was probable cause to arrest

From this record Detective Gray knows (1) R.M. R.M. had been expelled from the home by his parents before; (2) R.M. John Doe called R.M. and told him to stay away from the house. He had not changed his mind and should remain at Ms. Brewer’s home; (4) John Doe advised R.M. A.B. to recover his belongings from their house; John Doe, A.B. R.M. has never received financial support. Ms. Brewer and left food once. (6) A.B. R.M. R.M. lived at Ms. Brewer was at her house between January 22 and February 7, 2018, and (7) Ms. Brewer confirmed most facts R.M. disclosed. The totality of the circumstances … proves sufficient to warrant a prudent officer in believing that John Doe and A.B. had committed or were committing neglect of a dependent and non-support of a child….