The White House warned of possible legal action Thursday after Alabama’s legislature passed legislation outlawing gender-affirming medicines for transgender youth and a separate bill prohibiting sexual-identity discussions in early grades.
“Republican elected officials are engaging in disturbing, cynical trends of attacking vulnerable transgender kids for purely partisan political reasons,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of the Alabama laws.
Ms. Psaki went on to suggest the legislation may be unconstitutional, adding that the Justice and Health and Human Services departments are looking into potential legal action.
“LGBTQ+ people can’t be erased or forced back into any closets, and kids across our nation should be allowed to be who they are without the threat of their parents or their doctor could be imprisoned simply for helping them and loving them,” she said.
In a 66-28 vote, the Alabama House of Representatives approved legislation making it a felony for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers or hormones or perform surgery to aid in the gender transition of people under age 19.
The bill also requires school counselors, nurses, and others to inform parents if a child says they believe they are transgender.
The bill now heads to the desk of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, for her signature.
Separately, the Alabama Senate voted 26-5 to approve legislation requiring K-12 students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with the gender on their original birth certificate.
Republican senators also added language to that bill similar to the Florida law that critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.”
That language would prohibit classroom instruction or discussion on sexual orientation or identity for students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
Democrats and LBGTQ advocates opposed the bills. Moments after they passed, a coalition of civil rights and same-sex advocacy groups announced they will file a lawsuit against the bill criminalizing the use of gender-affirming medicines for minors, if Ms. Ivey signs it into law.
The coalition includes the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders and the Human Rights Campaign.
“This dangerous bill undermines Alabama parents’ ability to make decisions about what’s best for their kids,” said Scott McCoy, SPLC interim deputy legal director of LGBTQ Rights & special litigation. “It is indefensible for the state to reach in and interfere so completely with family medical decision-making and it will not hold up to constitutional scrutiny.”
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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