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A judge in North Dakota has denied a request to block the state’s law that protects children from undergoing life-altering transgender procedures.
On Monday, Burleigh County Judge Jackson Lofgren denied a petition from several parents who claim their children identify as transgender to place a temporary restraining order on a North Dakota law banning transgender procedures on children.
“The plaintiffs argue the challenged statutes are subject to strict scrutiny,” Lofgren wrote. “However, this heightened scrutiny hinges upon inclusion in a protected class not previously recognized by the North Dakota Supreme Court or a new application of state constitutional principles.”
Lofgren said the challenged did not present evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the law violated the Constitution.
Robert and Devon Dolney, among other parents, sued state Attorney General Drew Wrigley in September over House Bill 1254, which bans things like surgeries on children such as double mastectomies on girls who identify as boys and other genital procedures. It also prohibits children from being put on cross-sex hormones or puberty blockers, things that can have long-term impacts on fertility, bone development, and other serious developmental side effects.
“We’re disappointed in this ruling, but we are confident that when all the evidence has been presented, the court will ultimately find that ending the health care ban permanently is the only just, equitable, and constitutional resolution,” said lawyer Brittany Stewart of Gender Justice, who is representing the parents.
Lofgren, who was appointed by Burgum, is set to hear more arguments on the suit in January.
“You know one of the main arguments against this bill was that you know, the surgeries aren’t happening here in North Dakota, why are you doing this so early? It’s because, if you just look over the border, in places like Minnesota, it’s happening frequently, it’s happening in states around this country, so we’re taking an approach that we need to start today so that this doesn’t get out of control,” state Rep. Brandon Prichard, one of the bill’s sponsors, said at the time.
The law was signed in April by Governor Doug Burgum, a 2024 presidential candidate.
North Dakota is one of the more than 20 states that have passed bills protecting children from transgender procedures. Left-wing legal groups have sought to challenge the laws with various degrees of success. The ACLU, which lost a challenge to Tennessee’s law before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, has petitioned the Supreme Court to weigh in on the case.