LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – An Arkansas law banning gender-affirming care for children will be returning to court based on a filing made Thursday.
Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin filed a notice with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals of his intent to appeal a lower court decision that struck the law, known as the SAFE Act, as being unconstitutional.
In June, U.S. District Judge Jay Moody ruled that the law’s ban on gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery violated due process and equal protection. He also referenced the law’s First Amendment violation by prohibiting doctors from referring patients.
Griffin said the push the appeal the judge’s ruling was the “next step in our fight to protect our state’s children.”
“Today I appealed the lower court decision blocking Arkansas’s SAFE Act to the Eighth Circuit,” he tweeted. “This is the next step in our fight to protect our state’s children.
The law was passed in 2021 by the Arkansas General Assembly and was then vetoed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who called it “a vast government overreach.” The legislature then overruled the governor’s veto, putting the SAFE Act into law.
Once the legislature passed the law, it was challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas on behalf of four transgender youth and their families. Moody issued a temporary injunction on it in July 2021 before permanently striking the bill last month.
ACLU Executive Director Holly Dickson characterized Griffin’s Thursday filing as “bullying.”
“The state’s appeal is predictable and severely misguided,” Dickson said. “Politicians need to read and heed the judge’s order, be honest with the public about the safety of this life-saving care, and stop bullying young Arkansans and their families.”
The Arkansas law was the first of its kind in the nation, though other states have since filed similar bills.
Griffin’s notice to the court named members of the state medical board, including Executive Director Amy E. Embry as defendants.