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Florida appeals federal judge's transgender treatment ruling

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CBS News Miami Live

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida has appealed a federal judge's ruling that blocked state restrictions on treatment for people with gender dysphoria and wants the ruling put on hold while the appeal plays out.

Lawyers for the state filed a notice Tuesday that is a first step in asking the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the June 11 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle. The state also filed a motion in district court seeking a stay of Hinkle's ruling during the appeal.

Hinkle ruled that a 2023 state law and regulations barring the use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy to treat children for gender dysphoria and making it harder for transgender adults to access care are unconstitutionally discriminatory and were motivated by "animus" toward trans people. Hinkle prohibited state health officials from enforcing the law.

The notice of appeal, as is common, does not detail arguments the state will make at the Atlanta-based appeals court. But the motion for a stay raised a series of arguments, including that putting the ruling on hold would prevent "irreparable harm" to the state and be in the "public interest."

"That's especially so because the underlying issues concern a health-related matter: the appropriate regulation of treatments for gender dysphoria, namely the availability and use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones," the motion said. "The state should choose the appropriate line between no restrictions on certain treatments and an outright ban on the treatments."

Hinkle last year also issued a preliminary injunction in the class-action lawsuit filed by parents of two trans children and a transgender man. The state appealed the preliminary injunction, with the appeal pending. Hinkle's June 11 ruling said the preliminary injunction would "expire" with the entry of the new judgment.

In the 101-page ruling, Hinkle wrote that "gender identity is real" and likened opposition to transgender people to racism and misogyny.

"The state of Florida can regulate as needed but cannot flatly deny transgender individuals safe and effective medical treatment - 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," he wrote.

Florida and other Republican-controlled states have approved numerous laws and regulations in recent years focused on transgender people. One of the highest-profile issues has been restricting use of puberty blockers and hormone therapy for minors with gender dysphoria.

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