In the Courts

Dem-Appointed Judge Strikes Down Florida Law Banning Child Sex Changes

Judge Robert L. Hinkle of the Federal District Court in Tallahassee ruled on Tuesday against upholding a Florida law that banned sex change surgeries, cross sex hormones and puberty blockers for minors.

The Southern Legal Counsel and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation challenged Florida SB 254 last July, allegingthe Florida law deprived parents from making “necessary” medical decisions for their children. Hinkle, who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, wrote in his decision that the law was an “unconstitutional” restriction of “widely accepted gender-affirming medical care.”

“Transgender opponents are of course free to hold their beliefs,” Hinkle wrote in the decision. “But they are not free to discriminate against transgender individuals just for being transgender. In time, discrimination against transgender individuals will diminish, just as racism and misogyny have diminished. To paraphrase a civil-rights advocate from an earlier time, the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

In the complaint, parents and subsequent advocacy groups argued that the law prohibited access to “established medical care for transgender minors” and that it “violates parents’ fundamental right to make medical decisions to protect the health and wellbeing of their adolescent children.”

The bar barred “sex-reassignment prescriptions and procedures” for those “younger than 18 years of age,” according to its text. Any health care practitioner who knowingly violated the provisions “relating to treating a minor” is committing a third degree felony.

The bill was introduced in March of 2023, and it passed the Senate and the House in May of that year. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law that same month.

Over 20 states have passed similar legislation, including Texas, Wyoming and Georgia.

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Rebeka Zeljko

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Rebeka Zeljko

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