Republican Legislative Leaders Fight To Prohibit Gender Reassignment Surgery For Minors

Republican Legislative Leaders Fight To Prohibit Gender Reassignment Surgery For Minors

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s Republican Legislative Leaders continue to fight in federal court on behalf of state laws.

On Monday, House Speaker Ben Toma and Senate President Warren Petersen filed an amicus brief for the case Toomey v. State of Arizona, seeking “to protect Arizona’s recently-enacted statute prohibiting gender reassignment surgeries for minors.”

In a statement about the amicus brief, Speaker Toma said, “Although Governor Hobbs and I may disagree on matters of policy, state statute prevails over any statements or executive orders from the Governor. Given that Arizona law prohibits gender reassignment surgeries for anyone under 18, Governor Hobbs cannot expressly or implicitly undo Arizona’s statutory prohibition, through litigation or otherwise. It was critical that the legislature provide this important perspective, which the parties neglected to address in their proposed settlement.”

According to the release issued by Speaker Toma about the submission of the court filing, the amicus brief “seeks to protect Arizona’s statutory mandate by encouraging the court to narrowly interpret the governor’s executive order to avoid a conflict with current law, and it also urges the court to reject the parties’ unreasonable agreement to award $500,000 in taxpayer monies for the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees.”

The Speaker’s release added that Hobbs’ recent Executive Order, which requires “the state employee health care plan to cover gender reassignment surgeries,” made “no mention of A.R.S. 32-3230, a law that the legislature passed and was signed last year by then-Governor Ducey which prohibits irreversible gender reassignment surgeries for minors.”

That law was the result of SB 1138, which was sponsored by Petersen in 2022. In a letter to then-Secretary of State Hobbs, Ducey wrote, “Distinguishing between an adult and a child in law, as this bill does, is not unique. Throughout law, children are protected from making irreversible decisions, including buying certain products or participating in activities that can have lifelong health implications. These decisions should be made when an individual reaches adulthood. Further, many doctors who perform these procedures on adults agree it is not within the standards of care to perform these procedures on children. The irreversible nature of these procedures underscores why such a decision should be made as an adult, not as a child, and further supports the importance of this legislation.”

Last month, Hobbs signed three Executive Orders that generated significant controversy, including the one in focus for Toma and Petersen’s amicus brief. After the governor’s action, Petersen tweeted, “Instead of helping struggling AZ families plagued by inflation, the governor just issued an order for taxpayers to cover the cost of elective, sex reassignment surgeries. This illegal, out of touch, unprecedented overreach did not receive proper JLBC review as required by law.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.