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Justice Deparment argues Arkansas and West Virginia transgender restrictions are unconstitutional

One law prohibits transgender individuals competing in female scholastic sports, while the other prohibits doctors from giving youth transgender treatments or surgeries.

Updated: June 17, 2021 - 10:09pm

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The Justice Department has filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit challenging a West Virginia law that bars transgender athletes from competing in female scholastic sports. The DOJ has also filed a statement of interest in a suit opposing an Arkansas prohibition banning physicians from supplying so-called gender-confirming hormone treatments, puberty blockers or surgeries to individuals younger than 18.

The Associated Press reported that the Justice Department claimed that the states' laws breach the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause, and that the West Virginia law additionally runs afoul of Title IX, which forbids discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that get federal money.

"A state law that limits or denies a particular class of people’s ability to participate in public, federally funded educational programs and activities solely because their gender identity does not match their sex assigned at birth violates both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause," the Justice Department filing declared, claiming that the state law "does exactly this."

The Arkansas ban, which also bars doctors from referring youth to different providers for such treatment, is slated to go into effect on July 28, the AP noted.

"A state law that specifically denies a limited class of people the ability to receive medically necessary care from their healthcare providers solely on the basis of their sex assigned at birth violates the Equal Protection Clause," the Justice Department filing said, according to the outlet. "These restrictions explicitly target transgender people."

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