Republican states urge appeals court to reverse gender-affirming care coverage rule

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Nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general filed an amicus brief Tuesday urging a federal appeals court to reverse its decision making public employers liable to cover gender-affirming care if their provided health care does not.

The attorneys general of Alabama, Georgia and Florida led the 23-state brief, dubbing the 11th Circuit decision last month “radical” and calling for a “correction.” The brief requests that the entire circuit review the case.

Anna Lange, a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia, sued her county in 2019 after it refused to cover her gender-affirming surgery. An 11th Circuit panel ruled last month that the refusal violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and constituted discrimination based on sex.

A lower court awarded Lange $60,000 in damages and ordered the county to cover the gender-affirming care of its employees in 2022.

“This case calls out for correction by the full Eleventh Circuit,” Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall wrote in a statement. “It is hard to overstate how radical the panel’s decision is.”

Marshall argued that the Title VII decision carries “wide-ranging consequences for employers.”

“With its interpretation of a federal statute meant to require equal treatment in the workplace, the court fundamentally transformed Title VII to require favored treatment for employees who identify as transgender by mandating coverage for any number of treatments or operations such an employee could want,” he said. 

The 20 states that signed onto the amicus brief with Alabama, Georgia and Florida include Alaska; Arkansas; Idaho; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Louisiana; Mississippi; Montana; Missouri; Nebraska; North Dakota; Ohio; South Carolina; South Dakota; Texas; Tennessee; Utah; Virginia and West Virginia.

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