A Texas judge on March 11 temporarily ordered the state to halt investigations into families of children receiving gender-affirming care, marking a key setback for Governor Greg Abbott.
Abbott had directed the Department of Family and Protective Services on February 22 to investigate “any reported instances” of children receiving gender-affirming care after Attorney General Ken Paxton offered a legal opinion describing gender-affirming care as “child abuse.” The directive already suffered an early defeat earlier in the month when the ACLU, ACLU of Texas, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of a 16-year-old girl whose family was under investigation.
That suit prompted a narrow ruling in which the judge halted the investigation into that one family.
However, State District Judge Amy Clark Meachum issued a broader ruling following a court hearing. The latest ruling will stop all investigations until the case is heard in July.
Meachum acknowledged that there is a “substantial likelihood” that the ACLU and Lambda Legal attorneys will be successful in the case and further said the governor acted “beyond the scope of his authority.”
In their lawsuit, the ACLU and Lambda Legal argued that the directive violated the constitution as well as the constitutional rights of their clients. Those groups are also representing Megan Mooney, a licensed psychologist who said she cannot work around the directive without violating ethics.
Chase Strangio, who serves as the deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, briefly commented on Twitter immediately after the temporary injunction was issued.
“We worked so, so, so, so hard,” Strango wrote. “So many people. In so many ways. And it will be appealed and we will keep fighting.”