Today, Baker Botts L.L.P. joined Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Texas in filing a lawsuit on behalf of PFLAG National and three Texas families to challenge Texas’s expansion of child abuse to encompass the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender adolescents. This is the second lawsuit of its kind brought by Baker Botts, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Texas on behalf of Texas families, as the State has resumed its investigations of Texas families following a decision by the Texas Supreme Court that limited earlier injunctive relief.
PFLAG provides confidential peer support, education, and advocacy to LGBTQIA+ people, their parents and families, and allies. With a nationwide network of hundreds of chapters—including 17 in Texas—PFLAG National works with families, schools, and communities to build safety and support for transgender youth.
“For nearly 50 years, PFLAG parents have united against government efforts to harm their LGBTQ+ kids. By going after trans kids and their families, Gov. Abbott has picked a fight with thousands of families in Texas and across the country who are united as members of PFLAG National,” said Brian K. Bond, Executive Director of PFLAG National. “Loving and affirming your child and empowering them to be themselves is the highest calling of any parent, no matter your child's gender. If it takes a court ruling to ensure that the law protects families who lead with love in support of transgender Texans, so be it.”
In the first challenge to the State’s actions, Doe v. Abbott, the Texas Supreme Court upheld part of an appeals court order enjoining DFPS from investigating parents who work with medical professionals to provide their adolescent transgender children with medically necessary health care.
While the court emphasized that neither Attorney General Ken Paxton nor Governor Abbott has the power or authority to direct DFPS to investigate the provision of lifesaving health care for transgender youth as child abuse, the court limited the injunction to only the specific plaintiffs who filed suit.
“Notwithstanding the clear language in the recent Texas Supreme Court ruling that Attorney General Paxton and Gov. Abbott do not have the power or authority to direct DFPS to investigate loving families who are providing medically necessary care for their transgender child as child abuse, the agency seems determined to target these families and threaten to tear them apart,” Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Paul D. Castillo said. “With today's filing, we are joining with PFLAG in working to protect all Texas families who simply want to make sure their children are safe, happy, and healthy. It is unconscionable that the state wants to interfere in that relationship.”
The Baker Botts team representing plaintiffs in PFLAG v. Abbott is led by partner Derek McDonald and senior associates Maddy Dwertman and Brandt Thomas Roessler. “Baker Botts is proud to continue its relationship with Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the ACLU of Texas, and much like our co-counsel, we won’t rest until all transgender Texas youth and their families are safe from persecution,” said Brandt Thomas Roessler. “Baker Botts is grateful for our co-counsel entrusting us with this responsibility, and we stand ready to support their admirable work in any way we can.”
More information regarding the PFLAG v. Abbott lawsuit can be found here.
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