Georgia law banning most gender-affirming care for minors gets another hearing

The new Georgia law that stops minors from receiving most gender-affirming care will remain in effect. A federal judge did not make a decision Wednesday on whether to block the law, instead pushing that decision until after another hearing.

The four Georgia families that filed the federal lawsuit anonymously over fear for their safety are fighting for the right to allow their children to have the right to transition if they choose.

The hearing in a United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia courtroom Wednesday dealt mostly with administrative issues, but lawyers say this is just the start of their fight to make sure this type of care is available to children in Georgia if they want it.

Richard B. Russell United States Courthouse

"This law is an incredible overreach on the part of the state and intrudes into the private medical decisions and into families' lives in a way that's unconstitutional and outrageous," said Beth Littrell with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The lawsuit was filed last week by the families of four transgender children who say hormone therapy is necessary for their kids who are all diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Demonstrators show their opposition to SB 140 during a protest in front of the Georgia Capitol on March 30, 2023.

Demonstrators show their opposition to SB 140 during a protest in front of the Georgia Capitol on March 30, 2023. (FOX 5)

During the first hearing Wednesday, the federal judge assigned the case notified the attorneys she had worked with one of the plaintiffs' organizations, but neither side objected to her staying on the case.

During the hearing, the judge questioned why the suit was filed less than 48 hours before it took effect.

"It takes a long time to get all of the documents necessary to make the case that we needed to make, and we did it as expeditiously as we could," Littrell said.

Lawmakers in support of the legislation say these treatments have lifelong effects young people may not recognize.

"The bill again does not stop adults from making an informed decision that's going to impact their adult life," said Georgia Republican Representative Will Wade from Dawsonville.

During the hearing, another attorney, not listed in the lawsuit, told the judge he plans to file a similar suit on behalf of his own client. They believe the law is harmful.

"It violates the equal protection clause," said Ed Buckley. "It directly discriminates based on sex."

The Georgia Attorney General’s Office says it will defend the laws passed by lawmakers.

The judge plans to hold another hearing to consider a temporary restraining order, but no date for that has been set.

Federal judges in at least five other states have struck down or temporarily blocked similar laws.