Oklahoma agrees to not enforce gender-affirming care ban while temporary order sought

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma agreed on Thursday to not enforce its ban on gender-affirming medical care for young transgender people while opponents of the law seek a temporary court order blocking it.

The attorney general’s office and attorneys for families and medical providers challenging the ban filed an agreement before the federal judge hearing the lawsuit. As part of the agreement, both sides asked for additional time to file briefs in the case.

Oklahoma is one of 17 states that have enacted laws banning or restricting gender-affirming care for minors. Federal judges have blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas, and several other states are considering bills this year to restrict or ban the care.

“We expect all state officials to abide by this agreement while our motion is pending and stand ready to hold the state accountable and defend the rights of all trans Oklahomans, should any enforcement of SB 613 occur,” the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the Jenner & Block law firm said in a statement.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Oklahoma’s ban into law in May, and the law took effect immediately. Opponents sued over the ban and are seeking a preliminary injunction blocking its enforcement.

“The attorney general’s office continues to fulfill its duty to defend Senate Bill 613,” Attorney General Gentner Drummond’s office said in a statement. “A temporary stay of enforcement simply allows more time to mount the strongest possible defense.”

Stitt had made the ban a priority for this year’s legislative session, portraying it as an effort to protect children. Every major medical group has opposed the bans on gender-affirming care for young people, saying the treatments are safe when administered appropriately.

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