A group of 15 Republican attorneys general filed a brief in federal court in Alabama in support of the state’s newly-enacted law criminalizing gender-affirming medical care for children.
The friend of the court brief filed Monday comes as the parties await a ruling by the US District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on a request for an injunction staying the law.
The law, SB-184, makes it a crime to provide medical procedures or prescribe medications, including testosterone or estrogen, in order to “alter” a minor’s gender or delay puberty. The law carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
The parents of four transgender children, a pastor who counsels families of transgender kids, a pediatrician, and a clinical child psychologist filed the lawsuit April 19.
The suit alleges that the law violates the rights of parents to make decisions about the care, custody, and control of their children. It also violates the US Constitution’s equal protection clause by singling out trans children and prohibiting them from obtaining necessary treatment based on their sex and transgender status, the suit says.
The attorneys general, however, say the plaintiffs “shockingly pretend” that a “boiling international controversy doesn’t exist,” regarding “the safety and effectiveness of using pharmaceutical products and surgeries to address gender-related psychological issues in still-maturing adolescents.”
The parents and care-givers who brought the suit “and their allies are motivated by politics, not an objective assessment of what is best” for their kids, the attorneys general told the court.
The plaintiffs also “wrongly invoke the specter of suicide,” although there is “no good evidence for those claims,” the attorneys general said.
The attorneys general of Arkansas, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia filed the brief.
The US Department of Justice on April 29 filed a complaint in intervention in the case, asking the court to find that the law violates the equal protection clause, and to issue a temporary and permanent injunction against its enforcement.
Alabama and Arizona passed gender-affirming care bans this year. Arkansas passed a ban in 2021 over the governor’s veto, which is currently under an injunction issued July 21, 2021.
Judge Liles C. Burke is assigned to the case.
Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC, King & Spalding LLP, Southern Poverty Law Center, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, and Human Rights Campaign Foundation represent the plaintiffs.
The Alabama Attorney General’s Office represents the state.
The case is Eknes-Tucker v. Marshall, M.D. Ala., No. 22-cv-00184, 5/9/22.