Kentucky’s ban on gender-affirming care takes effect after federal judge lifts ban


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s ban on gender-based care for transgender youth was reinstated Friday when a federal judge lifted an order that temporarily blocked the restrictions last month.

U.S. District Judge David Hale’s latest ruling means Kentucky’s ban, which bars transgender minors from accessing puberty blockers and hormone therapy, will go into effect.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican, called for the ruling to be overturned, and transgender rights activists condemned it.

“What the courts are allowing LGBTQ people to do right now is an American tragedy, a tragedy that tarnishes the legacy of every judge who has opened the way for LGBTQ discrimination,” said Chris Hartman, executive director of the Campaign for Justice. , a Kentucky organization. -LGBTQ+ based advocacy group.

Cameron called the latest ruling a “victory for parents and children” and said she was pleased the judge “did what the law required, and that was to protect the children of Kentucky.” .

Hartman warned that the state ban would cause “immediate harm” to transgender youth and their families in Kentucky.

“They will now have to travel outside the Commonwealth or leave the state entirely to access the medical care they need,” he said.

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Hale’s rescission of his order came a week after the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit struck down a similar temporary injunction that had suspended a similar law in Tennessee. .

In Kentucky, seven transgender children and their parents filed a lawsuit to block the law. They argue that this violates their constitutional rights and interferes with the right of parents to seek medical care for their children.

Corey Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, said Friday that the latest decision is “not the last word” on the issue. The group called it a temporary setback, and Shapiro said it was confident it would get a “positive outcome” in another federal court.

Hale’s order last month to block parts of the Kentucky law came a day before the measure was set to take effect. At the time, the judge said the plaintiffs had shown a “meaningful likelihood of success” in their constitutional challenge.

The sweeping transgender legislation was passed by Kentucky’s GOP-dominated legislature this year over Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto. Bescher said the measure allowed “too much government interference in personal health issues.” Cameron, whose office defends the law, is running against Beshear in the Kentucky governor’s race. This is one of the most watched elections in the country in 2023.

The lawsuit challenges sections of Kentucky law that ban puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender minors. It did not include other sections related to the school’s toilet policy, guidelines for teachers regarding student pronouns, and teaching rules related to gender identity and sexual orientation.

At least 20 states have now passed laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, and many are in litigation. A federal judge ruled Arkansas’ ban unconstitutional, and federal judges temporarily blocked bans in Alabama and Indiana. Oklahoma agreed not to enforce its ban when opponents sought to block the temporary injunction. A federal judge has blocked Florida from enforcing the ban on three children who challenged the law.

States that have passed laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia.

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