FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 31, 2023
Texas Freedom Network, Emily Witt, [email protected]
Equality Texas, Johnathan Gooch, [email protected]
ACLU of Texas, Kristi Gross, [email protected]
TENT, Sadie Hernandez, [email protected]
Human Rights Campaign, [email protected]
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court today denied a request for emergency relief in a lawsuit that would have prevented Senate Bill 14 — which bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth — from going into effect September 1.
On August 25, Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel granted a temporary injunction in the case, citing the bill would cause irreparable harm. The Attorney General’s office immediately filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court. Plaintiffs filed for emergency relief to prevent the law’s implementation while litigation continues to play out.
The ACLU of Texas, ACLU National, Lambda Legal, and the Transgender Law Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of Texas families and doctors on July 12, arguing SB 14 violates the Texas Constitution by barring parents from making healthcare decisions for their children and discriminating against transgender youth.
SB 14 is one of the most aggressive bans on gender-affirming care in the country.
The ACLU of Texas, Equality Texas, Human Rights Campaign Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), and Texas Freedom Network released the following statements in response:
Statement from Marti Bier (they/them), Vice President of Programs at Texas Freedom Network:
“Transgender youth and adults belong in Texas, and there is no law that can erase their powerful, beautiful existence in our state. Senate Bill 14 is a callous attack on Texas children and their loving families, and we are devastated by the Texas Supreme Court’s choice to allow one of the most hateful, aggressive bans on lifesaving healthcare for transgender youth in the United States to be enforced.
“Governor Abbott and his anti-LGBTQIA+ allies are sacrificing our community’s lives for their own political gain. Their actions are unspeakably cruel, but they do not represent all Texans. The collective power of our movement for equality and social justice will always be stronger than their vitriol, and our fight for transgender youth, their affirming families, and all LGBTQIA+ Texans can and will never stop.”
Statement from Ricardo Martinez, CEO of Equality Texas:
“I am disappointed that the highest court in the state would allow harmful legislation to go into effect even for a day. I am angry that lawmakers silenced hundreds of Texans in order to push this law through. I am distressed that my neighbors have been betrayed by the state and pushed to leave or hide. And I am so worried for the countless kids who will be directly impacted by SB14 going into effect.
“We know that this bill will cause irreparable harm. How could terminating health care not have an immediate impact on the health of those receiving care? How could outlawing a whole field of medicine not end the careers of Texas doctors? As we brace for the impact of this law, I want to address our community and our allies: Hold each other tightly. We can only weather this storm together.”
Statement from Emmett Schelling (he/him), Executive Director of TENT:
“Today’s Texas Supreme Court Ruling was another atrocious attack on the bodily autonomy and freedoms of trans Texans. Discriminating against the trans community is the canary in the coal mine and should be a warning to ALL Texans that our access to healthcare can be stripped away at any moment. TENT will be prioritizing the trans community during this time to ensure our folks are able to receive the information, resources, and aid they need to navigate these attacks. Their attempts to push us out will not work. We’re trans, we’re Texans, and we’re here to stay.”
Statement from Melodía Gutiérrez, Texas State Director, Human Rights Campaign:
“Every day that Texans live under the State’s deliberately cruel ban against gender-affirming medical care will cause direct harm to transgender youth and the people who love them. We will continue to work with our coalition partners to support and defend our community from this and the Texas Legislature’s many efforts to undermine LGBTQ+ equality and safety.”
Statement from Ash Hall (they/them), Policy & Advocacy Strategist on LGBTQ+ Rights at the ACLU of Texas:
“It is gutting that the Texas Supreme Court would decide that the impending harm to our youth from SB 14 does not merit immediately blocking the law from going into effect. SB 14 is an unconstitutional, needlessly cruel attack on transgender kids that rips away their health care while allowing the same care to remain available to all other youth. Our children deserve better than bullying masquerading as policy.
“Today is a dark day, but this fight is far from over. Transgender people have always existed and always will, and the vast majority of Texans do not support harming them or cutting off this life-saving health care. We want our youth to be happy and to succeed in life, and we will do whatever it takes to make that happen. We will continue this fight for our youth in court and remain steadfast in supporting them on the ground alongside our coalition partners. Y’all means all in Texas – no matter our race, class, or gender.”
Members of the All In For Equality Coalition include the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Equality Texas, the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Texas Freedom Network, and the Transgender Education Network of Texas.