Policy Memo: Response to Florida’s War on LTBQ+ Minors

To: President Joe Biden
Re: Policy Memo on Florida Passage of Ban on Gender Affirming Care for Minors Involved In Custody Cases
From: Greg Albright (Incoming Master’s Student-Clinton School of Public Service)
Date: March 17th, 2023
Executive Summary
The Florida legislature has voted SB254 and its companion HB1421 out of committee, Bills that represent the banning of gender affirming care for minors in the state, and also represent judicial overreach by proffering that Florida courts intervene in child custody cases where one parent wants to provide gender affirming care for Florida minors in other states. These Bills represent severe limits to civil liberties, undue burdens on medical personnel in the state who accept Federal Medicare/Medicaid payments, involves Federal Transportation infrastructure, and judicial overreach.
Florida Governor Ron Desantis has taken another step in his war on the Civil Rights of marginalized minor LGTBQ+ Americans in the state. His war began with banning schools from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity and has now progressed to interference in custody cases where a recognized medical condition, gender dysphoria, is present in children at the heart of child custody orders. The Bills have provisions to allow Florida courts to order other states to return children if a custodial parent is providing gender affirming care in another state and a non-custodial parent in Florida wants the therapy to stop.
The Florida attack on LGTBQ youth and the medically recognized diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria specifically with these two legislative actions representing not only excessive curtailment of individual civil liberties, the legal rights of custodial parents to make decisions regarding the care of their children, but also excessive judicial overreach with a clause that allows a Florida court to order another state to remove a minor from the care of a custodial parent providing gender affirming care. The fact that Federal Highways and Airports would be key in enabling this onerous limit on civil liberties and judicial overreach is the tangential link the Supreme Court noted in 1987’s Dole v. U.S. where the Supreme Court ruled Constitutional, the attaching of conditions to Federal funding grants to states.
More recently a Federal Appellate Court sided with the Trump administration allowing the withholding of Federal funds from “Sanctuary” cities.
The response options are limited here to withholding Federal DOT funds and/or joining any litigation from an amicus level.
Recommended Course of Action
Through an Executive order immediately begin withholding Transportation/Airport infrastructure funds from the state of Florida to make the statement that the Federal Government won’t stand by and watch states systematically peel back the civil liberties of parents and LGBTQ minors without consequence.