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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Lawsuit over Alabama’s transgender care ban for minors can proceed as judge denies federal request for a stay

A federal judge declined Tuesday to pause litigation challenging Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors as similar cases wind upward toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke said no to a request from the U.S. Department of Justice to put the Alabama case on hold until appellate courts decide if they will hear related petitions on whether states can enact such bans. The Justice Department asked for the stay because, “this exceptional legal landscape is quickly evolving.”

Burke wrote that the case will move forward for now. He said a stay might be appropriate later if those petitions are granted.

Transgender young people and their families have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision that allowed bans in Kentucky and Tennessee to remain in effect. In the Alabama case, families with transgender children have asked the full 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review a decision that would let the Alabama law take effect.

The Alabama case is scheduled to go to trial in April.

At least 22 states have enacted laws banning or restricting gender-affirming care for minors and most of the bans are being challenged in court.

The Alabama ban makes it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for doctors to treat people under 19 with puberty blockers or hormones to help affirm a new gender identity. The law remains blocked by injunction until the 11th Circuit appeals court issues a mandate in the case.

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