Ohio Judge Temporarily Blocks Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

Ohio court temporarily blocks state's ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors, a significant victory for LGBTQ+ advocates and families.

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Geeta Pillai
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Ohio Judge Temporarily Blocks Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

Ohio Judge Temporarily Blocks Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

In a recent development, a Franklin County Court of Common Pleas judge has issued a temporary restraining order, halting the enforcement of Ohio's statewide ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors. The ban, known as the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, was set to take effect on April 24, 2024, but has been temporarily blocked in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Ohio, and the global law firm Goodwin Proctor.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of two transgender minors and their families, argues that the law violates several sections of the Ohio Constitution. The plaintiffs contend that the ban denies transgender youth access to medically necessary healthcare and discriminates against them. The judge found the plaintiffs' arguments persuasive, noting that "puberty does not arrive by appointment" and acknowledging the immediate harm the law would cause to the plaintiffs.

Why this matters: The temporary blocking of Ohio's ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors is a significant victory for LGBTQ+ advocates and families of transgender youth in the state. This ruling highlights the ongoing legal battles surrounding the rights of transgender individuals and the importance of access to gender-affirming healthcare.

The judge also questioned whether the law violates the single-subject rule in the state's constitution, as it combined the SAFE Act with an unrelated piece of legislation banning transgender girls and women from competing in women's sports. Previously, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine had vetoed the bill, but lawmakers later overrode his veto.

Ohio is one of at least 22 Republican-controlled states that have passed laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. These laws have faced legal challenges, with courts issuing mixed rulings on their constitutionality. The ACLU has stated that they are committed to opposing the Ohio law until it is permanently overturned.

Mallory Golski from the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, an opponent of the law, said the decision provides relief to the transgender youth they work with, as it allows them to continue receiving gender-affirming care. However, supporters of the law, like State Representative Gary Click, believe the bill will eventually be passed if the case reaches the Ohio Supreme Court.

Key Takeaways

  • Ohio judge blocks enforcement of state's ban on gender-affirming care for minors.
  • Lawsuit argues ban violates Ohio Constitution, denies transgender youth necessary healthcare.
  • Ohio is one of 22 Republican-led states that have passed laws restricting such care.
  • Ruling provides relief to transgender youth, but law may be upheld in state Supreme Court.
  • Ongoing legal battles highlight the rights of transgender individuals and access to care.