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GOP AGs Warn Maine To Kill “Totalitarian” Sex-Change Sanctuary State Bill

Source: Wikimedia/Ted Eytan

Transgender issues are a hot topic right now. States across the country are criminalizing different actions and behaviors that make it easier to be transgender in America, doing so in increasingly insidious ways. Not only are transgender adults and youth being penalized directly, but the people who love and surround them are finding themselves under for different things as well.

Transparent Transphobia

Some of the laws that have been proposed to “protect” the youth of America are laughably transparent in how transphobic they are. For instance, the bill whose governor veto was overrode in Utah, preventing transgender youth from practicing sports in their chosen gender identity, rather than their sex assigned at birth.

Source: Wikimedia/Negowetti

Governor Spencer Cox initially vetoed the bill, claiming that it unfairly targeted trans students, who were just trying to live their lives. This was a surprise in the deeply religious and conservative state of Utah, though the bill ultimately passed with a legislature veto override.

More Subtle Transphobia

In other states, the actions that are being taken against the trans community are more subtle, but significantly more dangerous. In Florida, the DMV announced that they would no longer accept new paperwork that would allow trans people to change their legal paperwork to reflect their chosen gender identity, opening them up to violence.

Source: Wikimedia/Lucas Werkmeister

And in Missouri, a bill was introduced in the state legislature that would make it a criminal act for teachers to recognize the chosen gender identity of their students. Teachers could be charged with a felony and prison time for supporting the authentic identity of their students, making it even more dangerous for trans people to find people to confide in.

“Protect the Children”

The rhetoric behind many of these laws, as usually happens with laws of this nature, seems to stem from a misguided attempt to “protect the youth” of America. These laws are often proposed by far-right conservative fundamentalists, who are often Christian and part of deeply conservative groups.

Source: Wikimedia/Brainy J

This reasoning, of course, is merely a front. Many of these groups that champion anti-LGBTQ laws are vehemently homophobic, and several of which – including the group Moms For Liberty, which has advocated for both book bans and anti-LGBTQ laws – have been formally classified as hate groups by different independent organizations.

Criminalizing Transgender People

Many people believe that these laws that criminalize actions against transgender youth are merely the beginning of a long-haul attack on human and LGBTQ+ rights. The fear is that ultimately, the far-right conservatives that are passing these laws are doing so with the intention of making it illegal to be transgender, altogether.

Source: Wikimedia/Alisdare Hickson

Unfortunately, the beginning steps of that potential goal already seem to have been realized. For trans individuals the process of transitioning is one that is exceedingly difficult, both due to social stigma and due to law. The process of getting approval to get on hormone treatments, for instance, is extensive and requires multiple doctors appointments and references from different physical and mental physicians in order for the hormone treatments to ultimately be approved, whether the trans person is an adult or not.

Liberal States to the Rescue

This is the unfortunate reality of living as a trans person in America. Conservative states are doing everything in their power to criminalize the very existence of being transgender, while more liberal states are trying to come up with solutions that help out the most vulnerable of the LGBTQ+ population.

Source: Wikimedia/Kimrydick

One such law that has been proposed in Maine has come under fire from Attorneys General from other, more conservative states. The bill under consideration would, effectively, establish Maine as a sanctuary state for procedures like sex-change surgeries for minors.

Specific Language of the Bill

More specifically, the bill would prohibit “interference” with abortion or sex change procedures, legally protect medical workers from facing lawsuits, and could potentially permit concealment of medical records from plaintiffs seeking legal action against a provider.

Source: Wikimedia/Yssa Olivencia

Ostensibly, this bill is in reaction to the anti-gay and anti-women laws that have been passed in other states. It would allow, for instance, for a parent of a trans youth to bring their child to Maine for a procedure such as sex change surgery, and they would face no legal recourse for the act even if the procedure for youth is illegal in their home state.

A Letter from Conservative Attorneys General

Predictably, there has been an immediate uproar around the bill. A group of 16 attorneys general from other states, led by Tennessee’s Johnathan Skrmetti, sent a letter this week to Gov. Janet Mills and Attorney General Aaron Frey, as well as state legislature leadership calling on them to kill the bill.

Source: Wikimedia/PantheraLeo1359531

The letter claimed that the bill was “a novel effort at state-sanctioned culture war litigation tourism.” Which is just a fancy way of saying that the bill, essentially, made the more conservative laws in other states criminalizing trans people pointless, if people could simply come to Maine in order to get the procedures done that they wanted.

States Don’t Sue States

The nature of state-by-state laws in the United States means that it’s deeply unusual for one state to be attacked for their laws by another. However, the AG’s wrote in their letter that the bill’s “unique constitutional transgressions” warranted comment, and action on the part of these other states.

Source: Wikimedia/Ted Eytan

Skrmetti and the other AG’s wrote in their letter that the bill would undermine the “lawful policy choices” of their respective state’s citizens. If Maine were to implement this law, they argue that it would, essentially, for the rest of the country to abide by Maine’s significantly more liberal view regarding trans people.

Blocking Valid Orders From Other States

The bill, if implemented, would also evidently form a liability shield to anyone aiding or offering unlawful services to out-of-state citizens. It would create a private right of action for damages against law enforcement, prosecutors, and other officials in states who are enforcing their respective state laws.

Source: Wikimedia/Ted Eytan

This is one of the parts of the law that the other states’ AG’s particularly objected to. In the letter, they wrote, “The bill purports to block valid orders and judgments from our state courts, enforcing laws upheld by federal appellate courts.”

Prosecutors Claim the Bill is Unconstitutional

According to the AG’s, the bill as it’s currently drafted is unconstitutional, in the fact that it disregards the federalist structure that allows each state to engage in self-government in response to the wills of their individual citizens.

Source: Wikimedia/Ted Eytan

Top prosecutors say that the constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause means that “no state cause of action should ever accrue from a different State lawfully enforcing its own permissible laws or executing valid judgments.” More simply, it says that states should not enforce their will on other states, even if they disagree with their actions.

A Complete Necessity

Maine argues that the bill is necessary in order to provide a safe haven for transgender people across the country. There are currently at least 23 states that restrict or ban transgender surgical procedures for minors, often with zero justification beyond blatantly transphobic rhetoric and long-disproven theories regarding hormone treatments.

Source: Wikimedia/Negowetti

The bill proposed in Maine would provide a sanctuary for trans individuals and their parents, allowing them to make choices regarding their children’s healthcare without fear of being criminalized by the state.

Spokespeople Speaking Up

Lisa Margulies, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, commented on the bill, stating, “This bill is fundamentally about access to health care. And resisting the devastating impacts of health care restrictions enacted by other states, and those are enacted not for medical reasons, but for political reasons.”

Source: Wikimedia/Ted Eytan

Patience Crozier, a director for the LGBTQ+ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) organization, also commented. “I think, in Maine, where reproductive and transgender health care is legal, this bill is really important to state the values of Maine and make sure that we’re protecting our providers from those attacks in other states.”

More Hurdles to Face

The bill likely has more hurdles to face before it can come to the floor for debate and vote in Maine in the coming weeks. The public concern about the bill from Republicans is likely to fire up constituents regarding the bill, and it’s probably that, should the bill be passed, it will be passed with simultaneous intense criticism and praise.

Source: Wikimedia/Ted Eytan

Officials from Maine have yet to comment on the bill, but it seems clear where the values of Maine are in the current political climate. Wanting to provide a sanctuary space for transgender youth and women to get urgently needed healthcare is noble, and ultimately, a necessary act in a world that further and further seeks to criminalize the very act of bodily autonomy.

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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