Texas Supreme Court rules gender modification ban can go into effect

The Supreme Court of Texas (SCOTX) has issued an opinion that will allow Senate Bill (SB) 14, the state’s ban on child gender modification treatments and procedures, to go into effect on September 1.

The Thursday issuance came in response to an emergency motion for temporary relief that was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Loe v. Texas lawsuit, which include the Transgender Law Center and American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.

The SCOTX opinion was short but ultimately denied the motion, which allows the law to go into effect. The state’s highest court has not yet ruled on the remaining appeal by the Office of Attorney General (OAG).

The OAG filed an “accelerated interlocutory appeal” to SCOTX in response to the initial ruling by the Travis County district judge, which said that the state would be “restrained from implementing or enforcing” SB 14.

“This fundamental right includes the right of parents to give, withhold, and withdraw consent to medical treatment for their children,” the Travis County judge stated in the ruling. “This fundamental right also includes the right to seek and to follow medical advice to protect the health and well being of their minor children.”

Acting Attorney General Angela Colmenero is currently the head of the OAG while the currently suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton awaits an impeachment trial in the Senate.

In a statement announcing its appeal, the OAG called child gender modification treatments “experimental” and “unproven” and said they are being “pushed” onto children by “activists in the medical and psychiatric professions.”

“The OAG will continue to enforce the laws duly enacted by the Texas Legislature and uphold the values of the people of Texas by doing everything in its power to protect children from damaging ‘gender transition’ interventions.”

One of the 88th Legislative Session’s most contentious pieces of legislation, SB 14 saw an equally heated hearing in Travis County district court.

Both sides in Loe v. Texas, those opposed to and in favor of the law, had an opportunity to present their evidence for and against the ban on child gender modification. Each side offered expert and fact witnesses, who provided insight and told personal stories about how gender modification treatments have impacted and will continue to impact their lives.

Much of the difference between the plaintiffs’ and the state’s arguments came down to the rhetoric over “gender identity” and biological sex, proper informed consent procedures, and the standard guidelines presented by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) — the most commonly used protocol when working with children experiencing gender dysphoria.

The controversy surrounding SB 14 harkens all the way back to its movements through the Legislature, where it was subject to increased focus both inside and outside the Capitol.

The main concern of lawmakers and activists, and where their opinions often differed most pointedly, was regarding how to properly treat children experiencing “gender dysphoria” and whether treatments labeled as “gender-affirming care” are justified. Both supporters and opponents bolstered their opinions by pointing to the wide breadth of research, but polling has continued to show a majority of Texas voters do not support child gender modification interventions.

With the SCOTX opinion issuance, SB 14 will go into effect on Friday, September 1.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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