Tennessee’s governor and attorney general say they will defend a lawsuit by the Biden Department of Justice against a new state law that bans transgender treatments on children and teens under 18.
The law, SB 1, prohibits surgeries and hormones/puberty blockers on minors. It passed the Tennessee House 77-15 and the Tennessee Senate 26-6 before being signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Lee. Both were bipartisan votes.
“Tennessee is committed to protecting children from permanent, life-altering decisions,” Lee wrote in a tweet. “This is federal overreach at its worst, and we will work with Attorney General Skrmetti to push back in court and stand up for children.”
Tennessee is committed to protecting children from permanent, life-altering decisions. This is federal overreach at its worst, and we will work with Attorney General Skrmetti to push back in court and stand up for children. https://t.co/ByrXpTeNUU— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) April 27, 2023
The Biden DOJ on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law, which says, it “denies necessary medical care to youth based solely on who they are.” The complaint alleges that the new law violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.
“No person should be denied access to necessary medical care just because of their transgender status,” said assistant attorney general Kristen Clarke. “The right to consider your health and medically-approved treatment options with your family and doctors is a right that everyone should have, including transgender children, who are especially vulnerable to serious risks of depression, anxiety and suicide.”
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said the law “protects children from irreversible harm.”
“I welcome the opportunity to litigate these issues and vigorously defend Tennessee’s law,” Skrmetti said.
April 27, 2023
The new law includes legislative findings that assert transgender procedures on children and teens “can lead to the minor becoming irreversibly sterile, having increased risk of disease and illness, or suffering from adverse and sometimes fatal psychological consequences.” The findings further assert there are harmful effects that are not “yet fully known” due to the “experimental” use of the drugs.
“The legislature finds that minors lack the maturity to fully understand and appreciate the life-altering consequences of such procedures and that many individuals have expressed regret for medical procedures that were performed on or administered to them for such purposes when they were minors,” the findings say.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Devenorr
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.