A mixed ruling from the Texas Supreme Court has both transgender advocates and the state’s attorney general declaring victory. The ruling concerns the parents of a 16-year-old girl who sued the state after being contacted by child welfare officials. They were among the first to be contacted after Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate reports of gender-affirming care for kids as abuse.
A lower court in Austin sided with the parents, putting the order on hold and pausing investigations. Friday’s state Supreme Court ruling allowed investigations as a whole to continue, but put the specific investigation into the parents of the 16-year-old girl on hold.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) celebrated the first part of the ruling on Twitter, tweeting “Just secured a win for families against the gender ideology of doctors, big pharma, clinics trying to “trans” confused, innocent children.”
According to American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) staff attorney Brian Kolsterboer, Paxton’s office filed an appeal within minutes of the Friday decision.
Lambda Legal, who teamed up with the ACLU to represent the family in the lawsuit, also celebrated Friday’s ruling. Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, a counsel and health care strategist for Lambda Legal, said the state would be foolish to continue investigations, because families could theoretically also seek an injunction.
“Though the court limited its order to the Doe family and Dr. Mooney, it reaffirmed that Texas law has not changed and no mandatory reporter or DFPS employee is required to take any action based on the governor’s directive and attorney general opinion,” the ACLU and Lambda Legal said in a joint statement. “By upholding the injunction, the court credited the finding that investigations based solely on the provision of medically necessary gender affirming care cause irreparable harm.”
The Texas Supreme Court did not rule on the merits of the investigations. It only said the Austin court overstepped by trying to block all cases from going forward.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.