Sunday, July 09, 2023

Anti-LGBTQ state laws are failing to stand up in courts, according to NBC News

Saturday's ridiculous ruling by federal court ruling that Tennessee's ban on gender-affirming care for trans kids can temporarily go into effect was an anomaly. According to NBC News, a majority of the recent laws passed to undermine LGBTQ rights have been falling in courts.

A record number of bills aimed at restricting the rights of LGBTQ people have become law in the past three years, but the majority of those that have faced legal challenges haven’t held up in court, according to an NBC News analysis, legal experts and the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed legal challenges against some of the laws. 

 Of the 20 states that have passed into law restrictions on transition-related care for transgender minors, 11 have faced lawsuits. Five — Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky and Florida — have had their restrictions completely or partially blocked by federal judges who ruled they violated the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. Oklahoma’s has been iced by a legal agreement while litigation continues.

 Tennessee’s care restriction was temporarily blocked by a federal court last month, but an appeals court lifted the injunction Friday, marking a rare loss in a series of legal victories for advocates fighting against transgender bans. The four other lawsuits over similar restrictions in Georgia, Idaho, Montana and Nebraska are still pending . . . 

 And it's not just laws and bills banning gender-affirming care for trans teens, either.

The legal losses for states that have attempted to limit LGBTQ rights extend beyond restrictions on transgender health care. 

 Twenty-two states have passed laws that bar transgender student athletes from participating on school sports teams that align with their gender identities, and judges last year temporarily blocked three of those in Idaho, West Virginia and Utah pending the outcome of litigation, according to the Movement Advancement Project. A federal judge in Montana also permanently struck down the state’s ban on transgender women playing on collegiate sports teams in September. 

 Laws that explicitly restrict drag shows have been passed in two states, Montana and Tennessee, though an additional four states — Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota and Texas — passed laws that regulate “adult” performances, which LGBTQ advocates say could be used to target drag performers. Last month, federal judges declared Tennessee’s restriction unconstitutional and temporarily blocked Florida’s. Three Montanans sued the state Friday over its drag-restriction law.

 Paul Smith, who successfully argued the 2003 landmark Supreme Court case Lawrence v. Texas, which found the U.S.’s remaining sodomy laws unconstitutional, said the repeated victories for LGBTQ people and advocates are “a sign that these laws are mostly being thought up based on their appeal to a certain frenzied group of people in the country who were very excited about picking on LGBTQ people right now, not based on their legal merits and sustainability.

NBC News points out that there have been some losses and legal experts it talked to is divided on the  possible narrative that a conservative Supreme Court would automatically rule against the LGBTQ community should these cases make it there.

The legal experts interviewed by NBC News were split on which of the cases could make it to the Supreme Court, but most of them agreed that drag restrictions would be the least likely to hold up, and that it would be harder to predict how the court would rule on transition-related care restrictions.

 Craig Konnoth, a University of Virginia law professor who previously served as a deputy solicitor general with the California Department of Justice, said the drag ban cases in particular have “a pretty good chance of continuing to win, even if it goes up to the Supreme Court.”

 “I think that with respect to health care decisions, after Dobbs, I am hesitant to say anything about the right of individuals to be able to access health care,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and eliminated the constitutional right to abortion.