Hopefully, a preview of our future.
A federal judge delivered a stinging rebuke to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Republican-controlled Legislature over rules and a new state law that banned minors from receiving “puberty blockers” and other types of gender-affirming care.
U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle on Tuesday blocked the state from applying the ban to three minors whose parents are part of an ongoing lawsuit, saying they would “suffer irreparable harm” if they were not allowed to continue access to hormones and other types of treatment.
Hinkle’s 44-page ruling called the decision to pursue the ban on puberty blockers and hormonal treatment a political decision and not a “legitimate state interest.” Several states — including Texas — have also recently enacted bans on gender affirming care.
“Nothing could have motivated this remarkable intrusion into parental prerogatives other than opposition to transgender status itself,” wrote Hinkle, who was appointed by former President Bill Clinton.
Hinkle also added that “the statute and the rules were an exercise in politics, not good medicine. This is a politically fraught area. There has long been, and still is, substantial bigotry directed at transgender individuals. Common experience confirms this, as does a Florida legislator’s remarkable reference to transgender witnesses at a committee hearing as ‘mutants’ and ‘demons.’ And even when not based on bigotry, there are those who incorrectly but sincerely believe that gender identity is not real but instead just a choice.”
Hinkle’s “mutant” and “demons” comment is a reference to state Rep. Webster Barnaby (R-Deltona), who in April disparaged transgender people during a Florida hearing on a bill, eventually signed into law, that makes it a misdemeanor offense for someone to use a bathroom that doesn’t align with the sex they were assigned at birth.
Hinkle also rejected the assertion, made by DeSantis and Republicans, that Florida was following the lead of European countries, saying that the state ban goes far beyond what is in place abroad.
It’s a good first step. Texas’ ban goes into effect in September, and I expect there will be a lawsuit filed here shortly thereafter. A couple of weeks ago the Department of Justice sued the state of Tennessee over their ban. I’m less worried about what a district court judge may do – it’s what the appellate courts and SCOTUS do that will really matter – but you have to start somewhere. This was a good start. Reuters and the Associated Press have more.