A Texas judge Friday expanded her injunction against child abuse investigations of transgender-supportive families to include all families who are members of PFLAG.
Travis County Judge Amy Clark Meachum had already granted an injunction blocking investigations of two of the families who sued, identified by pseudonyms as the Roes and the Voes, while their case, PFLAG v. Abbott, is heard. Friday’s action also blocks investigations of another family, the Briggles, and any who are in PFLAG, a national organization that has 17 chapters in Texas. Meachum also set a trial date for June 12 of next year.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a far-right, anti-LGBTQ+ Republican, had ordered the investigations in February, going on an opinion by Attorney General Ken Paxton, another right-winger. Paxton said allowing children to receive gender-affirming care amounted to child abuse — in an opinion that medical professionals say is based on political bias, not science. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services carries out the investigations.
“These injunctions became necessary to protect Texas families after the statewide injunction against the directive issued in an earlier lawsuit, Doe v. Abbott, was put on hold during the State’s appeal,” says a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union. “The ruling comes after the plaintiffs notified the court last week that DFPS was continuing intrusive investigations against PFLAG members, including by pulling a student out of class and questioning him at school about his medical history.”
The national ACLU, its Texas affiliate, Lambda Legal, and the law firm of Baker Botts LLP are representing PFLAG and the Texas families.
“Today, families of transgender kids in Texas who are members of PFLAG National find shelter from Gov. Abbott's unjust order,” Brian K. Bond, executive director of PFLAG National, said in the release. “PFLAG, our chapters in Texas and around the country are sources of support and safety from government harm because every LGBTQ+ person deserves respect, dignity and the right to access the care they need when they need it.”
“Again, the court has grasped the magnitude and breadth of the continued harm that Gov. Abbott’s directive and Attorney General Paxton’s opinion would have caused if DFPS was allowed to pursue its investigations,” said Nicholas “Guilly” Guillory, Tyrone Garner Memorial Law Fellow at Lambda Legal. “Families across Texas, since Gov. Abbott issued his directive, have lived in fear of the knock on the door. Even after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Abbott could not compel DFPS to conduct investigations, many families remained under investigation. Parents who love their transgender children and work with healthcare providers to support and affirm their well-being should be celebrated, rather than investigated as criminals as the state sought to do here.”
“Once again a Texas court has stepped in to say what we knew from the beginning: State leaders have no business interfering with life-saving care essential for transgender youth,” added Adri Pérez of the ACLU of Texas. “We should trust doctors and every major medical association on how to support transgender youth. State leadership continues to attack parents for how they raise their kids — and all our plaintiffs are doing is providing unconditional love and support for children of all gender identities. We will never stop fighting for the rights, safety, and dignity of transgender Texans.”