A bill that would have banned gender-affirming care for transgender youth didn’t make it to the floor of the Alabama House on Monday, the last day of the session. The bill’s quiet death surely saved young lives, opponents of the bill say.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Shay Shelnutt, passed the Alabama Senate 21-4 on March 3 but did not make it to the House floor on Monday. The bill was the last of eleven on a special order calendar brought up late Monday night, but House Democrats just before 11 p.m. Monday ran the clock out, ensuring an end to the bill.
Numerous medical organizations oppose the legislation, and warned that if it became law it could have result in more suicides among transgender youth.
If the legislature had passed the bill, the state would have faced a lawsuit, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Alabama and the New York City-based law firm Lambda Legal.
“Alabama is on track to becoming the most hostile state in the country for transgender youth. This bill will not stop kids from being trans. It will only add to the suffering of transgender kids in Alabama and lead to many families leaving the state,” said Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, in a statement. “Federal courts have been clear: denying transgender people health care is discrimination and against the law. Even if struck down, however, we cannot overstate the deadly and dangerous message this bill sends to transgender people in Alabama and around the country. We will continue to fight until trans youth are celebrated and supported in Alabama and everywhere.”
Kaitlin Welborn, staff attorney for the ACLU of Alabama, said in a statement that while the Alabama Legislature avoided passing the bill “we should all celebrate this victory for transgender people, for human rights, and for the state of Alabama.”
“We know that this is not the last attack we will see on the transgender community. We cannot become complacent,” Welborn continued. “But no matter what lawmakers in Alabama try, transgender people belong and we will always fight to make sure their rights are protected, the same as everyone else’s.”