Judge Strikes Down Florida Transgender Law

Ban on gender-affirming care for minors is unconstitutional, federal judge says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2024 4:39 PM CDT
Judge Strikes Down Florida Transgender Law
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law as he geared up for his White House bid last year.   (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)

The federal judge who blocked part of Florida's law on transgender care for minors last year struck the law down in a decision Tuesday, saying key parts of it are unconstitutional. "Gender identity is real," Judge Robert Hinkle of Federal District Court in Tallahassee said in his 105-page decision, per the New York Times. The 2023 law banned gender-affirming care for minors and severely restricted it for adults. "Florida has adopted a statute and rules that ban gender-affirming care for minors even when medically appropriate," Hinkle wrote. "The ban is unconstitutional." He also struck down a ban on telemedicine for trans adults and a requirement that they receive treatment only from doctors, not nurses.

Hinkle said the law's sponsors were motivated by "anti-transgender animus," NBC News reports. He quoted the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in his decision, which likened discrimination against transgender people to discrimination against women and racial minorities in the past, the AP reports. "In time, discrimination against transgender individuals will diminish, just as racism and misogyny have diminished," he wrote. "To paraphrase a civil-rights advocate from an earlier time, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." He noted that the state had long allowed treatment for gender dysphoria, "but then the political winds changed."

Hinkle said the state "can regulate as needed but cannot flatly deny transgender individuals safe and effective medical treatment." Jeremy Redfern, press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said the state will appeal the ruling, the Washington Post reports. "Florida will continue to fight to ensure children are not chemically or physically mutilated in the name of radical, new age 'gender ideology,'" Redfern said in a statement. (More transgender stories.)

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