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Georgia's Gender-Affirming Care Ban Stands for Now, Judge Rules

Georgia's Gender-Affirming Care Ban Stands for Now, Judge Rules

Pro-transgender protest

A federal judge is allowing the state more time to prepare its defense.

A federal judge has declined a request to block Georgia’s ban on most gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

Four families with transgender children and a national organization for such families, TransParent, last week filed a request for an emergency court order to keep the ban from going into effect. But U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Geraghty Wednesday decided to allow the law to stand because, she said, the request was filed too late, Atlanta TV station WANF reports. It was filed Thursday evening, less than 48 hours before the law was scheduled to go into effect Saturday. Attorneys for the state had said they needed more time to prepare their defense, and Geraghty allowed them that.

Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed Senate Bill 140 into law in March. It bans surgery and hormone treatment for people under 18 for the purposes of gender transition, while it allows the use of puberty blockers. Young people who had started hormone therapy before the effective date are allowed to stay on the treatment.

The families, who filed anonymously, and TransParent are represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, and the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Their suit names several state officials and agencies as defendants.

The Georgia ACLU said the law will hurt children and families. “Our clients are harmed,” ACLU attorney Beth Littrell told WANF. “They can’t make plans, they can’t get access to medical care, so we think the law needs to be enjoined immediately.”

Similar bans have been blocked or struck down in Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Florida.

“There’s certainly a recognition around the country that laws like SB 140 are unconstitutional and cannot be justified by the state,” Littrell said. “Across the country, judges have either blocked these laws or struck them down and permanently enjoined them, and we expect this court will do the same.”

State officials said it will likely take months for them to hire outside lawyers, contact expert witnesses, and complete other tasks involved with their defense.

Attorneys for both sides have until Friday to set a date for their next court appearance. Geraghty said she would set one if they couldn’t agree.

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