". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Wyoming Enacts Law Protecting Children from Gender Transition Procedures

March 25, 2024

The Children Gender Change Prohibition Act (SF 99) overwhelmingly passed the Wyoming legislature earlier this month and was signed into law Friday by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (R). With this move, Wyoming became the 24th state to enact protections for minors from gender transition procedures, filling in a hole in the patchwork of states that have addressed the issue.

SF 99 protects minors from puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, sterilizing surgeries, mastectomies, and the removal of “any otherwise healthy or nondiseased body part or tissue,” if undertaken “for purposes of transitioning a child’s biological sex … or affirming the child’s perception of the child’s sex.” Biological sex is defined in biological terms, “as determined by the sex organs, chromosomes and endogenous profiles of the child.” Health care providers who violate the act are subject to administrative discipline, up to and including the suspension or revocation of their license.

The measure, originally named “Chloe’s law,” after California detransitioner Chloe Cole, initially passed the Senate (26-5) on February 27. The House amended the bill to clarify that it did not prevent “mental health treatment” and to rename the bill — “to pass a bill that reflects Wyoming,” said state Rep. Ember Oakley (R). However, the House did pass the bill (55-6) on March 6, and the Senate concurred (28-2) on March 7.

A bill protecting minors from gender transition procedures was not certain to pass in the Wyoming legislature, particularly in the House. The Wyoming House Appropriations Committee voted 5-2 against a similar bill (SF 144, 2023) with the same title introduced in 2023. The Wyoming House voted against introducing another similar bill (HB 63) this February.

Governor Gordon signed the measure into law on March 22. However, in his press release he seemed to be of two minds. “I signed SF99 because I support the protections this bill includes for children, however it is my belief that the government is straying into the personal affairs of families,” he wrote. “Our legislature needs to sort out its intentions with regard to parental rights. While it inserts governmental prerogative in some places, it affirms parental rights in others.” While the Wyoming governor’s concern for parental rights is admirable, it is not relevant to this issue.

As multiple courts have stated, any apparent conflict between parental rights and legislative prohibitions on minors accessing gender transition procedures is not real, but fabricated by the Left. “Parents do not have a constitutional right to obtain reasonably banned treatments for their children,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit wrote last September in a decision upholding laws protecting minors from gender transition procedures in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Within Wyoming’s own federal appellate jurisdiction (the Tenth Circuit), a federal judge in Oklahoma upheld a similar law last October. That judge, relying on precedents, determined that an “appropriately careful definition” of the parental right in question was a right “to choose for their children to use puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries for the purposes of effectuating a gender transition,” not a vague and general right “to seek appropriate medical care for their minor children.” Unlike legitimate parental rights, this carefully defined right to access gender transition procedures for minors was not “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”

State officials concerned about parental rights violations would find their efforts better spent corralling their own departments that handle child services. Earlier this year, Montana child protective services took a 14-year-old girl out of her parents’ home because they did not affirm her attempt at gender transition. Montana agents then took the girl across state lines to Wyoming to receive gender transition hormone treatments, before eventually relocating her to Canada. A similar case happened in Indiana several years ago; there, the parents sued, but they were recently denied relief by the U.S. Supreme Court. If ever there were a violation of parental rights for vigilant governors to address, this is it.

In the meantime, though, it’s good to see Wyoming finally join their neighbors (Montana, Idaho, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Utah) in protecting minors from gender transition procedures. The law will take effect on July 1.

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.