A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the Biden administration cannot redefine sex-based discrimination in statutes to force doctors to perform gender-transition procedures against their will.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk ruled Friday that the administration exceeded the limits of the Affordable Care Act and Title IX by including sexual orientation and gender identity among the laws’ anti-discrimination protections.
“Title IX’s ordinary public meaning remains intact until changed by Congress, or perhaps the Supreme Court,” wrote Judge Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee.
Because civil rights law has not changed, the judge said the executive branch could not extend a 2020 Supreme Court ruling barring LGBT workplace discrimination to include Obamacare patients.
In his ruling, Judge Kacsmaryk noted that Congress could have included sexual orientation or gender identity in the Affordable Care Act but “chose not to do so.”
The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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Two doctors filed a class-action lawsuit after the Department of Health and Human Services announced plans in May 2021 to expand anti-discrimination protections in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
America First Legal Foundation, founded by former Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller, has represented Drs. Susan Neese and James Hurly in their lawsuit against the administration’s proposed Obamacare change.
The Obama administration introduced rules in 2016 to expand the anti-discrimination section of Obamacare to include transgender protections.
The Trump administration reversed those rules in 2020, but the Biden administration revived them.
The Biden administration also has attempted to expand the definition of sex-based discrimination to let transgender athletes play on the sports teams of their choice, regardless of their sex at birth.