This week, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief led by the States of Alabama and Arkansas, in support of Tennessee’s and Kentucky’s laws that “prohibit healthcare providers from performing sex-modification surgeries on and administering sex-modification hormones to minors.” The States filed the brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit after district courts struck down the laws in both Tennessee and Kentucky.
The coalition of States argue that the district courts made two primary mistakes in adjudicating against Tennessee’s and Kentucky’s laws. First, the courts “assumed that heightened scrutiny (under the Equal Protection Clause) applies whenever a ‘minor’s sex at birth determines whether or not the minor can receive certain types of medical care.’” Second, the courts “relied on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care and the imprimatur of American medical interest groups to find that laws prohibiting sex-modification procedures for children fail heightened scrutiny.”
In their brief, the attorneys general assert that certain courts (including the two in these cases) are attempting to force States, under the guise of the Fourteenth Amendment, to adopt nightmarish Standards of Care from WPATH. They write, “Thankfully, the Constitution does not put WPATH in charge of regulating medicine in Kentucky, Tennessee, or anywhere else. While a ‘legislative committee’ is free to consider WPATH’s position, the organization’s say-so does not ‘shed light on the meaning of the Constitution.’ … Amici write in support of the well-established authority that States have to enact health and welfare laws—even ones that conflict with WPATH’s horrifying standards.”
Joining Alabama, Arkansas, and Utah in filing this brief were the States of Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia.