From Yahoo News:
A federal judge in Arkansas has permanently struck down the state’s first-in-the-nation ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth, finding that the law violates the constitutional rights of trans patients, their families and health providers. The law – the first-such ban on affirming healthcare for trans youth in the US – is permanently enjoined following a weeks-long trial, marking the first such ruling in the country.
A decision from US District Judge Jay Moody, who was appointed to the federal judiciary by Barack Obama, joins a wave of legal victories in federal courts for transgender rights and the rights of trans youth to access medically recommended and potentially life-saving care.
The law prohibited doctors from providing hormone therapies, puberty blockers or affirming surgeries to anyone under 18 years old. It also barred state funds or insurance coverage for affirming care for people under 18 and allowed insurance companies to refuse to cover affirming treatment for people of any age. Judge Moody had temporarily blocked the law in 2021 as a legal challenge from a group of families with trans children played out.
In his ruling on 20 June, Judge Moody determined that the law discriminates against transgender people and that attorneys for the state of Arkansas failed to contest the “extensive clinical experience” from doctors who testified in the case and the “decades of clinical experience demonstrating the efficacy of gender-affirming medical care.”
The judge also debunked the state’s medical claims by pointing to testimony from its own witness and ruled that the state failed to prove any of its claims that affirming treatment is “ineffective or riskier than other medical care provided to minors,” among other statements.
The story is still developing but some folks on Twitter were quick to point out just how the state was unable to prove its case.
It gets better: the court pointed out, after actually examining expertise and evidence, that 3 of 4 expert witnesses the state provided had no expertise, were frequently misleading, and were ideologues, not experts. https://t.co/wkpjxUOH5e— Q. McLamore (@GhawinRiver) June 20, 2023
Specifically, Judge Moody gave Arkansas an opportunity to justify the trans health care ban in court; it failed spectacularly—whereas the plaintiffs' experts provided hour after hour of compelling testimony about the medical benefits of such treatment. https://t.co/62n3YC6cky pic.twitter.com/2XIx06y4qv— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) June 20, 2023
This will probably be appealed to a higher court but for now, it is a huge victory for trans kids on so many levels. For one, it could be a preview of rulings to come involving other anti-trans laws passed in other states.
For another, it replicates a cycle we saw in the marriage equality fight - far right conservatives using their money and resources to gain legislative and referendum victories which are eventually dismantled in our courts because said victories were built on faulty foundations. In other words, it's easy to scare or persuade people into voting the way you want but in a court of law you have to provide facts proving your point. And far right conservatives simply can't do it.