Tennesseans demanded swift action when, in September 2022, The Daily Wire uncovered that a Nashville hospital was actively promoting sex-changing cosmetic surgeries as “huge money makers.” The reports revealed allegations of discrimination against hospital employees who expressed conscientious objections based on their personal ethical and religious beliefs.
Amid national outcry about these disturbing revelations, Tennesseans were further shocked to learn the hospital was providing hormone and sterilization treatments to children as young as 13. These reports raised nationwide awareness and serious ethical concerns about procedures performed on minors at pediatric transgender clinics around the country.
When did we, as a nation, decide the best way to treat an individual with gender dysphoria is to permanently disfigure their bodies with almost no scientific evidence verifying the long-term effects? Our laws recognize that young people do not have the emotional or intellectual capacity to understand the long-term consequences of their actions. That is why we do not allow minors to make significant, life-altering decisions like entering into a legal contracts, getting tattoos, voting, or enlisting in the military. So, why should we allow a child in crisis to undergo a permanent procedure to change the appearance of their gender?
The absurdity of this practice led us to introduce Senate Bill 1/ House Bill 1. We committed to banning these procedures in Tennessee. Now state law, this monumental legislation bans medical interference that alters a child’s hormonal balance. It prohibits any procedure that removes a child’s healthy body parts for the purpose of enabling them to identify as a gender different from their biological sex. This law provides the nation’s strongest protections for minors against these harmful drugs and procedures.
We are tremendously proud of our Tennessee House and Senate colleagues who stood firmly against intense scrutiny from the woke Left mob this year when we first introduced Senate Bill 1/ House Bill 1.
Of course, the pushback from the radical Left was swift. Liberals from all over the country falsely claimed this law would be “dangerous” and warned it would never hold up in court. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) challenged the legality of the legislation, and recently the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals wisely ruled 2-1 to reject their challenge.
This ruling is a significant win for democracy. Decisions that are not clearly resolved by either the U.S. or Tennessee Constitutions should be resolved by the people through their elected representatives. The radical Left is so misguided that a just ruling disappoints them. This ruling sets an important precedent for our legal system and democracy, but, more importantly, it leaves no doubt that protecting Tennessee’s children always comes first.
Tennessee is a leader in every sense of the word. In our 227-year history, we have accomplished remarkable things. We are a state known for low taxes, small government, prosperous business, and strong, conservative family values. We are the Volunteer State; it’s not in our nature to sit idly by and watch destructive groups of people brainwash our vulnerable youth to believe they have a permanent solution to their complicated struggles. Preserving family values and advocating for the U.S. and Tennessee Constitution means never backing down.
Running and defending Senate Bill 1/ House Bill 1 to protect children in our state was never a question. We knew that by taking ultimate responsibility for this movement, something good would come, and this outcome is priceless. We are hopeful more states will follow Tennessee’s lead.
Jack Johnson serves as the Tennessee Senate Majority Leader, and William Lamberth serves as the Tennessee House Majority Leader.
The views expressed in this piece are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.