Conservative legal group sues Gov. Inslee over law for gender-affirming care for minors

Aug 17, 2023, 7:19 PM


The state House of Representatives approved a bill protecting minors from being reported when seeking gender-affirming care and not wanting their parents to know about it. (Photo credit should read Marco Ravagli/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

(Photo credit should read Marco Ravagli/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Conservative non-profit group America First Legal announced it has sued Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee over a recently passed state law that allows minors seeking gender-affirming care in Washington will be protected from the intervention of estranged parents.

Under the new law, Senate Bill 5599 (SB 5599), children can stay at licensed youth shelters without their parents’ knowledge while seeking medical treatments like gender-transitioning services and medications. The previous law required licensed shelters and host homes to notify parents within 72 hours when a minor came into their care, with the exception that there was evidence of abuse.

New legislation: Minors seeking gender-affirming treatment can shelter without parental knowledge

The law adds to this exception to include youth who are seeking protected healthcare services, which include gender-affirming treatment and reproductive health care.

SB 5599 requires shelters and hosts to report a minor’s intentions to seek gender-affirming care to the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). The department would then decide when the parents should be notified on a case-by-case basis and would then work to facilitate reunification.

The group is suing Inslee, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and DCYF Secretary Ross Hunter, saying that the new law violates parents’ constitutional religious freedoms, as well as the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

In a press release this week, America First Legal, said SB 5599 creates a dangerous incentive for minors who disagree with their parents to run away to a shelter or host home.

“America First Legal is leading the courtroom charge against radical transgenderism and the sexual exploitation of our children by militant gender activists. No state action more frighteningly illustrates the threat to our children than this law,” Miller said in a statement. “This sick, authoritarian law essentially allows the state to kidnap children from their parents and hide their whereabouts to surgically and chemically mutilate them — and to formally deprive their parents of any legal ability to stop the medical disfigurement of their sons and daughters by gender extremists targeting their children.”

The Associated Press (AP) published a piece in April saying SB 5599 does not address custody and would not result in the state of Washington taking children away from their homes and parents.

“There’s no procedure in here whatsoever that talks about taking children away,” Deirdre Bowen, a law professor at Seattle University, told the AP. “It is not remotely what this bill says.”

At the time the bill was signed into law, Democratic lawmakers described gender-reassignment surgery as “life-saving,” arguing trans youth deserve to feel safe and like themselves at home.

“Every child – including our trans youth – deserves to be safe at home. In a perfect world, that is the case, but unfortunately, that is not the reality,” State Sen. Marko Liias, a Democrat, said. “This legislation affirms our commitment to ensuring children have a safe and stable place to go when they are not welcome at home.”

Stephen Miller, a policy adviser under former President Donald Trump, is the president of America First Legal, a group that seeks to “oppose the radical left’s anti-jobs, anti-freedom, anti-faith, anti-borders, anti-police, and anti-American crusade.”

KIRO Newsradio has reached out to Inslee’s office and is waiting for a response.

Contributing: Steve Coogan

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Conservative legal group sues Gov. Inslee over law for gender-affirming care for minors