Ky. transgender minors, families to appeal U.S. Supreme Court over new law

Published 4:04 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

By Mark Maynard, Kentucky Today

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says it will petition the U.S. Supreme Court on the 2023 law banning gender transition procedures on transgender minors.

The ACLU plans to file the petition Thursday or Friday on behalf of seven transgender children and their families, alongside the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

A similar filing challenging Tennessee’s ban on such procedures on transgender youth could become the first such case to go before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he will continue defending Senate Bill 150, which is the law in question, to protect Kentucky kids.

“The safety of Kentucky kids has been my top priority,” he said. “My office has vigorously defended SB 150 since the legislature overrode Governor (Andy) Beshear’s veto, and we will go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Sept. 27 in a 2-1 vote to keep in place Kentucky’s ban on procedures such as hormones and puberty blockers for minors.

The Kentucky law, known as Senate Bill 150, also prohibits transgender surgical procedures on  children.

“This sort of extreme political interference in the doctor-patient relationship has no place in the exam room,” said Corey Shapiro, legal director for the ACLU of Kentucky. “We are asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Sixth Circuit’s decision so that our clients can continue receiving the necessary, effective health care recommended by their physicians and supported by their parents. It’s time to stop criminalizing health care, interfering with personal decisions, and substituting political agendas for the expertise of health care professionals.”

Kentucky lawmakers said SB 150 protects kids from permanent, invasive harm caused by puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

Chief Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton wrote in the majority opinion “it is difficult for anyone to be sure about predicting the long-term consequences of abandoning age limits of any sort for these treatments. This precisely the kind of situation in which life-tenured judges construing a difficult-to-amend Constitution should be humble and careful about announcing new substantive due process or equal protection rights that limit accountable elected officials from sorting out these medical, social, and policy challenges.”

Cameron, who is running for governor against incumbent Andy Beshear, said after the September ruling by the Sixth Circuit that kept SB 150 in place, “These gender interventions, billed as medical care, cause permanent harm to vulnerable children and their health.”

The General Assembly passed Senate Bill 150 during the 2023 Regular Session. The legislation prioritizes the health, safety, and welfare of children and safeguards them from, among other things, irreversible medical treatments, and ideological indoctrination in schools. Beshear vetoed the sweeping legislation, which also keeps boys out of girls’ restrooms and locker rooms. The General Assembly overrode his veto by large margins.

Senate Bill 150 has been in place protecting Kentucky children since July 14.