News (USA)

LGBTQ+ people got good news over the holidays

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While the holidays are a time for good cheer, the season was extra special for some LGBTQ+ people around the nation.

Judges in Idaho and Iowa gave residents surprise presents, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) gave the gift of a veto to the trans community.

DeWine vetoed a bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for trans youth, joining a small group of Republican governors who have bucked state legislators’ efforts to demonize and persecute trans people. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) also put the brakes on Republican-led efforts.

“Parents have looked me in the eye and told me that but for this treatment, their child would be dead,” DeWine said after vetoing the bill. “And youth who are transgender have told me they are thriving today because of their transition.”

“What so many of these young people and their families have also told me was that nothing they’ve ever faced in their life could prepare them for this tough journey. Parents are making decisions for the most precious thing in their life: their child. These are gut-wrenching decisions that should be made by parents and should be informed by teams of doctors that are advising them.”

“While the parents, doctors inform those decisions, it is the parents who know their child best … Were Ohio to pass H.B. 68, Ohio would be saying that the state knows what is better, what is medically best for the child, than the two people who love that child the most: The parents.”

The bill will return to the state legislature, where lawmakers could override it. State Rep. Gary Click (R), the bill’s sponsor, is a far-right pastor who has admitted he practices conversion therapy.

In Iowa, a federal judge blocked portions of a law that would have gone into effect on January 1. The law would have banned books and curricula from schools that discuss gender identity or sexual orientation.

The law was “overly broad” and likely violated the First Amendment, he noted, pointing out that hundreds of books had already been removed from schools and libraries, “even books designed to help students avoid being victimized by sexual assault.”

In Idaho, a federal judge blocked a bill similar to Ohio’s that would ban gender-affirming care for trans youth. Unlike DeWine, Gov. Brad Little (R) signed the bill into law last April. The law was due to go into effect on January 1.

The judge noted that the two families who sued have “shown a strong likelihood of success” in their claim that the law violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.

“Time and again, these cases illustrate that the 14th Amendment’s primary role is to protect disfavored minorities and preserve our fundamental rights from legislative overreach,” Winmill wrote in his decision. “That was true for newly freed slaves following the Civil War. It was true in the 20th century for women, people of color, interracial couples, and individuals seeking access to contraception. And it is no less true for transgender children and their parents in the 21st century.”

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