ACLU Reacts to Gov. Hobbs’ Executive Order Ensuring Access to Gender-Affirming Health Care

The ACLU, ACLU of Arizona, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP filed a lawsuit in 2019 challenging state health care exclusions

June 28, 2023 1:27 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

PHOENIX — Gov. Hobbs today issued an executive order that removes the ban on gender-affirming surgery for transgender state employees. In response to this landmark order, the American Civil Liberties Union will file a motion with the court to approve a final class settlement in its case Toomey v. State of Arizona, a lawsuit filed in 2019 by the ACLU of Arizona, ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, and law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, that challenged the exclusion of gender-affirming care from state employees’ health care plan.

“Today’s executive order by Governor Hobbs provides unexplainable relief and care to the state-sanctioned suffering that I and other transgender Arizonans have endured for several years. I see this action as hope that our collective future in Arizona is one that allows trans people, like myself, to live lives full of joy and unrestricted opportunity,” said Dr. Russell Toomey, the lead plaintiff in the case.

“Governor Hobbs used her executive pen to take bold, and most importantly, life-saving action. Not only were trans state employees categorically denied gender-affirming healthcare, but they were also denied the opportunity to even demonstrate why such surgery is medically necessary,” said Christine Wee, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Arizona. “We look forward to filing a proposed settlement and finally achieving equal healthcare coverage for all state employees.”

“This executive order is a critical step forward for the state of Arizona and transgender state employees,” said Joshua Block, senior staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “Courts have consistently held that exclusions like the ones previously enforced by the state are clear acts of discrimination under federal law. We’re so thankful for the work of Dr. Toomey and look forward to a class action settlement in his case to ensure that the state is permanently enjoined from reinstating this discriminatory policy.”

More information about Toomey v. State of Arizona can be found here.

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release