Welcome to Reuters Legal News beta. Please enjoy and provide us with your feedback as we continue to improve the Reuters Legal News experience.
Sign In
June 17, 20213:55 PM PDTLast Updated 2 months ago
U.S. Justice Dept. calls state laws restricting trans rights unconstitutional
Jan Wolfe

4 minute read
1/2
People march during the Brooklyn Liberation's Protect Trans Youth event in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, U.S., June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
Law firms
American Civil Liberties Union
See all
The company and law firm names shown above are generated automatically based on the text of the article. We are improving this feature as we continue to test and develop in beta. We welcome feedback, which you can provide using the feedback tab on the right of the page.
WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday made its most forceful statement against a wave of Republican-backed state laws that restrict transgender rights, saying measures enacted in West Virginia and Arkansas should be struck down in the courts.
Justice Department lawyers urged a West Virginia judge to invalidate a state law banning transgender athletes from competing in female sports in middle and high schools and colleges, in a legal brief known as a "statement of interest."
The department filed a similar brief in federal court in Arkansas, saying it is unconstitutional for that state to bar healthcare professionals from providing transition-related care to transgender minors.
In both cases, the federal government threw its weight behind court challenges brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups that advocate for transgender rights.
The Justice Department briefs argue that the two laws each violate the right to "equal protection" under the law enshrined in the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment.
The offices of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who are defending the laws in court, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Judges are not bound by the Justice Department's interpretation of the law, but the statements are likely to influence their thinking, said Shiwali Patel, a lawyer at the National Women’s Law Center who has been monitoring the cases.
"This is an important signal to lawmakers that are considering enacting these anti-trans bills into law," Patel said.
The West Virginia bill was signed into law by Republican Governor Jim Justice in April. Similar laws banning transgender athletes from competing in female sports have been enacted in states including Florida and South Dakota. Proponents have said the measures will protect the integrity of girls' athletics.
Lawyers for Democratic President Joe Biden's administration say Republican officials in West Virginia "legislated based on misconceptions and overbroad assumptions" about transgender youth.
"That policy does nothing to further the state’s purported goal of protecting athletic opportunities for girls," the Justice Department brief stated.
The Arkansas law threatens healthcare professionals who provide puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones or gender-affirming surgery to minors with losing their medical licenses and opens them up to lawsuits from patients who later regret their procedures.
Republican lawmakers have said some minors are facing undue pressure to reconsider their gender and that the law will protect them from undergoing a procedure they may later regret.
Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed the bill in April, calling it a “vast government overreach,” but the state legislature overrode his veto. read more
Transgender advocates have attacked the measure, also being considered in a number of other states, saying that cutting off badly needed care to adolescents would inevitably lead to more suicides.
Reporting by Jan Wolfe; editing by Jonathan Oatis
More from Reuters
Play video on original page

Latest in Legal
Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals
CVS hedges on 2022 earnings growth target as COVID-19 uncertainty persists
3:46 AM PDT
Finance & Banking
Case to Watch: Regulating interest rates in a digital world
3:17 AM PDT
United States
Landlord groups ask U.S. judge to toss out new COVID-19 eviction ban
2:18 AM PDT
Environment
Tribes, enviros sue Corps over Texas oil terminal expansion permit
August 4, 2021

Sign up for The Daily Docket
Subscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest Reuters legal news and headlines delivered to your inbox.
Industry Insight
Industry Insight
Crowd-sourced recommendations for what work practices to ditch & keep from the pandemic
August 4, 2021
Industry Insight
General Counsel Q&A: Katherine Knight, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
August 4, 2021
Industry Insight
What in-house counsel need to know about “reasonable” data security measures
August 4, 2021
Industry Insight
Physical security for law firms and legal professionals in a remote work environment
August 3, 2021
Latest
Home
Media
Videos
Pictures
Graphics
Browse
World
Business
Legal
Markets
Breakingviews
Technology
Investigations
Lifestyle
About Reuters
About Reuters
Careers
Reuters News Agency
Brand Attribution Guidelines
Reuters Leadership
Reuters Fact Check
Reuters Diversity Report
Stay Informed
Download the App
Newsletters
Information you can trust
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Follow Us
Thomson Reuters Products
Westlaw
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
Onesource
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
Checkpoint
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Refinitiv Products
Eikon
Information, analytics and exclusive news on financial markets - delivered in an intuitive desktop and mobile interface.
Refinitiv Data Platform
Access to real-time, reference, and non-real time data in the cloud to power your enterprise.
World-Check
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
Advertise With Us
Advertising Guidelines
Cookies
Terms of Use
Privacy
Corrections
Site Feedback

All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2021 Reuters. All rights reserved
Civil RightsPublic PolicyLitigation