OKLAHOMA — The United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma has rejected a request from families and a medical provider to temporarily block an Oklahoma law banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth while the case proceeded. Until now, the law (SB613) was not enforceable by state officials based upon an agreement by the parties.
Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, The ACLU of Oklahoma, and the law firm Jenner & Block LLP issued the following joint statement:
"This is a devastating result for transgender youth and their families in Oklahoma and across the region. Denying transgender youth equality before the law and needlessly withholding the necessary medical care their families and their doctors know is right for them has caused and will continue to cause serious harm. But this is not the end. We are appealing this decision that is completely out of step with all other federal trial courts and that ignores the overwhelming evidence that gender-affirming medical care is safe and effective evidence-based care. We will continue our fight in defense of our clients and the constitutional rights of transgender people in Oklahoma and across the country."
In May 2023, Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma, and Jenner & Block LLP filed a lawsuit [ lambdalegal.org/legal_document/poe_ok_20230502_complaint-for-declaratory-injunctive-other-relief/ ] to oppose the law on behalf of a group of families with transgender adolescents and a medical provider who supports trans youth. The law prohibits medical providers from treating transgender youth with evidence-based, gender-affirming medical treatment and requires youth currently receiving gender-affirming care to end that care. This judgment ends a binding agreement with the Oklahoma Attorney General's office not to enforce SB 613, pending resolution of plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. SB 613 is now in effect.
District courts have blocked such bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Late last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit allowed Tennessee's and Kentucky's bans to take effect while the legal challenges in those states proceed. Earlier, in August 2023, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals allowed Alabama's ban to take effect while a legal challenge against it proceeds.
In June 2023, a federal court in Arkansas struck down that state's ban on gender-affirming care in the first ruling on the merits of such a law, finding it violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Today's order from the court can be read here: lambdalegal.org/legal_document/poe_ok_20231006_opinion-order/ .
Click here for more on Poe et.al. v. Drummond et.al: lambdalegal.org/case/poe-et-al-v-drummond-et-al/ .
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and policy work. www.lambdalegal.org