ACLU targets Ohio for banning child sex changes

Mar 27, 2024 | Political News

On Tuesday, the controversial and progressive American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the state of Ohio over its ban on sex change procedures for minors.

The law, which will go into effect on April 24, bans minors from accessing sex change treatments including puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and surgery, per House Bill 68. It also bans biological men from competing in women's sports.

The ACLU claims in the lawsuit, which was filed in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, that the bill is “unconstitutional” and violates several sections of Ohio state's constitution, including the equal protection clause, according to The Hill.

“Specifically, it discriminates against [transgender adolescents] based on their sex designated at birth, based on the incongruence between their sex and gender identity, based on their transgender status, and based on their failure to conform to stereotypes and expected behavior associated with their sex designated at birth,” the lawsuit states.

Additionally, the lawsuit argues that the bill violates the state's single-subject rule by containing more than one subject. This is due to the bill prohibiting transgender student-athletes from competing in sports opposite of their birth sex in addition to barring minors from accessing sex change treatments.

“By combining these two discrete subject matters into a single bill, HB 68 contains a disunity of subject matter. In sum, the General Assembly passed a bill containing more than one subject, in violation of the Ohio Constitution,” the lawsuit states.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said his office is prepared to defend the new law in court, writing on X: “We protect children with various restrictions that do not apply to adults—from signing legal contracts to buying alcohol and tobacco and more. As I promised during the veto override, my office will defend this constitutional statute.”

In January, the Ohio legislative body overrode Gov. Mike DeWine's veto of the legislation. DeWine argued at the time that the law is “profoundly” consequential to transgender families.

Freda Levenson, legal director of the ACLU of Ohio, said, “The ban on gender-affirming care will cause severe harm to transgender youth. These personal, private medical decisions should remain between families and doctors; they don't belong to politicians.”