The U.S. Department of Justice submitted two legal briefs on Thursday that positions the Biden administrations against the recent surge in anti-trans bills that have cropped up in Republican-controlled states, restricting the rights of trans youth.
Lawyers for the department submitted statements of interest to judges in West Virginia and Arkansas challenging recently approved laws that critics say are against trans youth.
The legal briefs are in connection to lawsuits in those states that have been brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against these new laws.
In both cases, the department argues that the laws violate the right of equal protection found in the 14th Amendment, according to court documents.
In West Virginia, a law was passed banning trans athletes from competing in women’s sports in middle school all the way up to college.
Besides the 14th Amendment, Justice Department lawyers also wrote that it violated Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs that receive federal funding. “A state law that limits or denies a particular class of people’s ability to participate in public, federally funded educational programs and activities solely because their gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth violates both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause," the lawyers’ legal briefs said.
“To be sure, there remain significant barriers to providing full equity in athletics for female students. But permitting participation by transgender girls, who make up “approximately one half of one percent” of the United States’ population, is not one of them,” the Justice Department wrote.
The law in Arkansas prevents health care professionals from giving transition-related care to trans minors.
Department of Justice lawyers state that the law “limits only transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care as prescribed by a healthcare provider, and no one else. Indeed, cisgender minors are able to receive gender-affirming care that involves the exact same treatment denied to transgender minors, simply because for one minor the care affirms their "biological sex" as defined in [Arkansas’ law] and for the other it does not. These restrictions explicitly target transgender people.”
Further, the department wrote that Arkansas lawmakers have ignored medical professionals and evidence-based treatment, thereby not protecting the health care of Arkansas’ youth, but “denying the most vulnerable among them life-saving care.”
Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed the bill in April, but the state’s legislature overturned the veto.