Federal judge rules Georgia can reinstate ban on hormone treatment for transgender minors

Georgia can resume enforcement of its new law banning hormone treatments for transgender children, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Republican lawmakers this year passed the controversial law banning transgender children from treatment with estrogen or testosterone. LGBTQ advocates said this amounts to medical discrimination against transgender people because doctors can still prescribe these hormones for other reasons. It came into force on July 1st.

On August 20, U.S. District Judge Sarah Geraghty sided with a group of families of transgender children challenging the law and granted a temporary stay on enforcement while the case continued.

The following day, a panel of judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Georgia, overturned an injunction on a transgender medical ban in Alabama, finding that state law does not discriminate based on sex and blocking hormone treatments there.

Citing that decision, attorneys representing Georgia urged Geraghty to reconsider, and in an order filed Tuesday, Geraghty blocked her previous order blocking the ban.

“It is undisputed that this court’s preliminary injunction is based on legal grounds firmly rejected by the panel in the Alabama case and that this court’s preliminary injunction cannot be based on the bases set forth in the order,” Geraghty wrote.

Lawyers in Alabama representing families of transgender children vowed to keep fighting and demand the case be heard by the full 11th Circuit Court. Lawyers representing Georgia’s plaintiff families asked Geraghty to maintain the restraining order until the appeals court decides whether to hear the case, but Geraghty ruled: “The court does not find this a plausible or lawful option.” As the defendants correctly said “(The Alabama decision) is currently binding precedent, regardless of the fact that the mandate has not yet been issued.”

Geraghty says in her order that it could be months before it is clear whether the Alabama plaintiffs will request a new hearing and whether that request will be granted.

Geraghty’s order requires a motion for rehearing in the Alabama case to be filed within 45 days of the appeals court’s Aug. 21 order.

Geraghty said she would wait for further developments in the Alabama case before considering a motion for reconsideration.