US Supreme Court review of gender-affirming care for youth could impact Kentucky law

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to review a challenge to Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth could have implications for a similar law in Kentucky. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal asked the court to review the Tennessee law after a ruling by the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. That same appellate court overturned a district judge’s decisions and also allowed Kentucky’s law to take effect last year. 

Like Kentucky’s law, the Tennessee law prohibits doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to minors that includes puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries. The Supreme Court will consider if Tennessee’s law violates the Equal Protection clause in the 14th Amendment. 

Email newsletter signup

Kentucky’s Republican-controlled General Assembly easily passed its law in the 2023 legislative session, overturning a veto from Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. In addition to the ban on gender-affirming care for minors, the law included directing local school districts to make policies keeping people from using bathrooms, locker rooms or showers that “are reserved for students of a different biological sex” and placing restrictions on sex education in public schools. 

The Biden administration also requested the Supreme Court review the Tennessee case. 

In a statement, the ACLU of Kentucky said that while the court’s review does not formally include the Kentucky law, the outcome could impact Kentucky. ACLU-KY and the National Center for Lesbian Rights represent parents who are challenging Kentucky’s law. 

“Our legal team is pleased that the Supreme Court has agreed to consider reversing the Sixth Circuit’s decision upholding these cruel and unconstitutional laws,” said ACLU-KY Legal Director Corey Shapiro. “Our clients and their doctors simply want to provide the best medical care that is necessary for these amazing youth. We remain optimistic that the Supreme Court will agree and ultimately strike down these bans.”

According to SCOTUSblog, a decision could come from the Supreme Court in the summer of 2025 after arguments are heard in the fall.