A panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has accepted a request by Tennessee’s attorney general to lift an injunction issued by a lower court blocking enforcement of the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The law, originally set to take effect on July 1, will now take effect immediately.
In June 2023, a federal district court granted a request for a preliminary injunction against Public Chapter No. 1, in a lawsuit brought by Samantha and Brian Williams of Nashville and their 15-year-old daughter, as well as two other anonymous families and Dr. Susan N. Lacy. The law prohibits medical providers from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender youth and requires trans youth currently receiving gender-affirming care to end that care within nine months of the law’s effective date of July 1, 2023—by March 31, 2024.
This is the first federal court to allow a ban on gender-affirming care to take effect after courts have unanimously blocked such bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, and Kentucky. In June 2023, a federal court in Arkansas struck down that state’s ban on gender-affirming care in the first ruling on the merits of such a law, finding it violated the Equal Protection Clause, Due Process Clauses, and First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Tennessee, Lambda Legal, and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP issued the following joint statement:
“This ruling is beyond disappointing and a heartbreaking development for thousands of transgender youth, their doctors, and their families. As we and our clients consider our next steps, we want all the transgender youth of Tennessee to know this fight is far from over and we will continue to challenge this law until it is permanently defeated and Tennessee is made a safer place to raise every family.”
Today’s ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals can be found here: https://www.opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/23a0146p-06.pdf. Read more about the case, L.W. v. Skrmetti, here: https://lambdalegal.org/case/lw-v-skrmetti/