The Biden Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a lawsuit against Tennessee over its new law prohibiting transgender treatments for minors, including gender-affirmation surgery and hormone therapy. The DOJ claims that the law, set to take effect on July 1, 2023, violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and seeks an order to prevent the measure from being implemented.
Tennessee’s SB 1 makes it illegal to provide or offer certain medical care for transgender minors diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The law has sparked controversy, with critics arguing it discriminates against transgender youth by denying them access to medically necessary care. However, proponents of the law maintain that it protects children from irreversible harm.
I cannot imagine being supportive of a federal government that believes this is their role and that this is the right/good move. The US Republic only survives w/a moral people & clear delineation of powers. All States should stand w/TN. https://t.co/T9C8a6HK9o
— Ossenkopf 2 Tim 1:7 (@gal220reagan) April 27, 2023
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has welcomed the opportunity to defend the law in court, stating, “The federal government has joined the ACLU and an elite New York law firm in attacking a bipartisan law that protects children from irreversible harm.”
The legislation, which passed with overwhelming support in the Tennessee House and Senate, prohibits healthcare providers from performing genital mutilation surgeries or prescribing opposite-sex hormones and puberty blockers to minors. The findings of SB 1 assert that Tennessee has a legitimate interest in protecting children from physical and emotional harm and in preserving the integrity of the medical profession.
In response to the lawsuit, Tennessee state Sen. Jack Johnson (R), who sponsored SB 1, criticized the Biden Administration for prioritizing a “radical woke agenda” over protecting vulnerable children. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) also denounced the DOJ’s lawsuit as federal overreach and expressed commitment to standing up for children in court.
The DOJ’s lawsuit against Tennessee is not the first of its kind. In April 2022, the department intervened in a similar case challenging an Alabama bill. The ongoing legal battles reflect the contentious nature of transgender treatment policies for minors across the United States.
As the debate continues, it is essential to prioritize the well-being of children and ensure that they are protected from any potential harm. While the Biden Administration’s DOJ may argue that Tennessee’s law discriminates against transgender youth, others firmly believe that the legislation safeguards the most vulnerable members of society from life-altering decisions. With the future of Tennessee’s law now in the hands of the courts, the nation will watch closely to see how this case unfolds and what implications it may have for other states working to protect vulnerable children.