© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Texas Governor Greg Abbott attends former U.S. President Donald Trump’s rally, in Conroe, Texas, U.S., January 29, 2022. REUTERS/Go Nakamura
(Reuters) – A Texas appeals court on Tuesday reinstated a temporary injunction that prohibits the state from investigating parents who provide gender-affirming care to their transgender children.
The Texas Third Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion filed by lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal that sought to keep in place a ruling by a lower court that temporarily blocked the investigations.
The state had appealed that decision, setting up the ruling on Tuesday.
Actions by the appeals court will determine whether probes of parents of trans children can or cannot take place before the case goes to trial in July.
The legal battle ensued after Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, in February issued a directive ordering the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to begin investigating the parents of children who undergo “sex change procedures,” which the governor wrote “constitute child abuse under existing Texas law.”
Abbott’s directive triggered a lawsuit on behalf of the family of a 16-year-old transgender girl targeted for investigation.
The child has taken puberty-delaying medications and hormone therapy. Her mother is an employee of the DFPS and was put on paid administrative leave after asking what Abbott’s directive would mean for her family.
The governor said he issued the directive based on a non-binding legal opinion that the state’s attorney general, Ken Paxton, released on Feb. 18 in which he said that gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender youth could constitute child abuse.
The injunction issued by District Court Judge Amy Clark Meachum on March 11 blocking Abbott’s directive opened the door to further legal action. The state immediately filed an appeal, with Paxton declaring Meachum’s injunction “frozen” and investigations clear to proceed.
However, lawyers for the ACLU and Lambda Legal said Paxton’s move constituted a violation of the injunction order and asked the appellate court to rule on the matter.
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