Appeals Court Sides With Idaho Families and Transgender Youth

Affiliate: ACLU of Idaho
January 30, 2024 5:37 pm

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SAN FRANCISCO – In a victory for families and transgender youth, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to stay a lower court’s preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of an Idaho law banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender people under 18.

In a 2023 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Idaho, W/rest Collective, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, and Groombridge, Wu, Baughman & Stone LLP, two Idaho families assert that HB 71, signed into law by Governor Brad Little in May 2023, violates the rights of transgender youth and their parents under the U.S. Constitution. In December 2023, a District Court judge found the families likely to succeed in their challenge and blocked enforcement of HB 71 while the case goes forward. The state of Idaho asked the Ninth Circuit to stay that injunction pending the appeal and allow the law to go into effect immediately, and today’s order refuses to do so.

“This ruling should be celebrated by everyone who decries discrimination,” said Paul Carlos Southwick, ACLU of Idaho Legal Director. “We celebrate alongside transgender youth and their families throughout Idaho who will continue to have access to the health care they need and deserve.”

“Once again, the federal courts have upheld the rights of transgender youth and their families to access the medical care they and their doctors know is right for them without political interference,” said Li Nowlin-Sohl, Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “HB 71 and every ban like it are a dangerous attempt to discriminate against transgender youth, subvert the rights of their parents, and threaten the freedom and well-being of the very people this law claims to protect. We welcome this ruling from the Ninth Circuit and are grateful for the privilege of defending the Constitutional rights of the families of Idaho.”

Pam Poe is an Idaho native and a transgender teenager receiving gender-affirming medical care that was prescribed by her doctors and approved by her parents but has been criminalized by HB 71. She has a part-time job and loves engineering, programming, and math. Pam lives with her parents Penny and Peter Poe who are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging HB 71.

Jane Doe is a lifelong resident of Idaho and a transgender teenager receiving gender-affirming medical care that was prescribed by her doctors and approved by her parents but has been criminalized by HB 71. When she is not at school, she likes to play video games, listen to music, and go on walks. She is interested in computer science and coding, and she plans to go to college after she graduates high school. She lives with her parents, Joan and John Doe, who are also plaintiffs in this case.

HB 71 bans puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and certain surgeries if they are used to affirm the gender of transgender people under 18, and threatens medical providers who provide this widely accepted care with a felony conviction and up to 10 years in prison.

Today’s order from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals can be found here.


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