Supreme Court to rule on state bans of gender treatment on minors

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this fall on the constitutionality of a Tennessee law prohibiting medical practitioners from using sex change therapies and surgeries on minors.

The…

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments this fall on the constitutionality of a Tennessee law prohibiting medical practitioners from using sex change therapies and surgeries on minors.

The court agreed to review a lawsuit the Biden administration’s lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s Senate Bill 1. The new law bans all sex-change treatments until adulthood.

Such bans in Tennessee and other states have coincided with challenges by scientists and sociologists to the previous rationale for trans medical treatment on children.   

The LGBTQ lobby has pushed sex-change treatments for minors as a mental health and suicide prevention measure, as the number of transgender treatments on children has skyrocketed in the U.S.        

Meanwhile, a new landmark study from the Netherlands reports that, while 11% of children at age 11 have uncertainty about their birth gender, that figure drops to just 4% by age 25. 

So far, 25 U.S. states have banned some form of trans treatments for minors, with 23 states imposing legal penalties on professionals who violate the law.  

In United States v. Skrmetti, the Biden administration argues the new Tennessee law violates the Equal Protection Clause under the 14th Amendment.  

“This Court’s review is also warranted because the question whether the recent wave of bans on gender affirming care are consistent with the Equal Protection Clause is a question of national importance that urgently requires a definitive resolution,” the Biden Department of Justice argues in requesting the Supreme Court’s review.  

SCOTUSBlog, a private legal blog not affiliated with the Supreme Court, predicts the case will be decided by June or July of 2025.   

The blog says the Biden administration intervened in the lawsuit under a rule that allows the government to take over private lawsuits “if the Attorney General certifies that the case is of general public importance.” 

Courts across the U.S. have taken different stands on the issue, making review by the high court all the more inevitable.  

A federal judge originally blocked the bans implemented in Tennessee and Kentucky. The Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit later reinstated the bans.  

“The legal uncertainty surrounding this medical care is creating chaos across the country for adolescents, families, and doctors,” Chase Strangio, lawyer of record with the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, said in the organization’s petition pleading for the high court to take up the case quickly.  

The states, however, are saying the courts should take a more cautious approach to an issue that’s “constantly evolving,” reported SCOTUSblog.  

Opposition to sex-change procedures for minors is evolving into a nonpartisan issue, with even the New York Times recently weighing in with a feature story about the dangers posed by medical or surgical transitions for children.   

States also have noted that several challenges to similar bans, such as those in Florida, are currently working their way through the judicial system. The states argue the Supreme Court should wait for a more developed case history before deciding the issue, notes SCOTUSblog.     

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for October.