The United States Department of Justice says that bans in West Virginia and Arkansas targeting transgender youth are unconstitutional.
The Justice Department is looking to overturn laws in West Virginia and Arkansas. In West Virginia, transgender students are banned from competing in sports that do not align with their biological sex. Arkansas bans gender confirming treatments and surgery for young transgender individuals.
The DOJ said that both laws violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. The West Virginia law also violates Title IX, according to the DOJ.
“A state law that limits or denies a particular class of people’s ability to participate in public, federally funded educational programs and activities solely because their gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth violates both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause,” the Department of Justice said in a filing.
The Arkansas transgender youth prohibition set to take effect on July 28, 2021, prohibits doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers, or surgery to anyone under 18 years old or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.
“A state law that specifically denies a limited class of people the ability to receive medically necessary care from their healthcare providers solely on the basis of their sex assigned at birth violates the Equal Protection Clause,” the Justice Department filing said. “These restrictions explicitly target transgender people.”
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed the measure in April, calling it a “vast government overreach,” but Republican lawmakers in the state overrode the veto.
Several states have attempted to pass legislation banning transgender students from sports. Supporters of the bills believe that the law is necessary because transgender student-athletes will have a physical advantage in female sports.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, there have been more than 100 different bills across states that are anti-transgender.
“The rights of LGBTQ people — and especially transgender people — across the country are being systematically threatened and undermined by national anti-LGBTQ groups coordinating with anti-equality lawmakers to wage an unprecedented war on the LGBTQ community,” Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said in a statement.