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Federal judge strikes down Florida's gender-affirming care restrictions

By Mike Heuer

June 11 (UPI) -- Florida's ban on gender-affirming care for adults is discriminatory and has no legitimate state interest, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Court for Northern Florida Judge Robert Hinkle ruled a 2023 Florida law is unconstitutional and violates the equal protection rights of transgender people.

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"Florida can regulate as needed but cannot flatly deny transgender individuals safe and effective medical treatment," Hinkle said in his decision.

Hinkle said the state allows the use of similar "treatment with medications routinely provided to others with the state's full approval so long as the purpose is not to support the patient's transgender identity."

Florida's Republican leaders intend to appeal the ruling.

"We disagree with the court's erroneous rulings on the law, on the facts and on the science, said Jeremy Redfern, spokesman for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said in a prepared statement.

Hinkle said the law and relevant rules for respective boards of medicine are based on opposition to transgender people.

Parents of transgender children and others in May 2023 filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to overturn the law.

Hinkle said many American medical institutions and medical professionals accept the standards of care for transgender people and those diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

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"I'm so relieved the court saw there is no medical basis for this law," Lucien Hamel, a transgender man who testified before the court, told Axios.

The law "was passed just to target transgender people like me and try to push us out of Florida," Hamel said.

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