AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Tribune reports that an appeals court has sided with the parents of a transgender teenager in a ruling Wednesday, rejecting Attorney General Ken Paxton's efforts to allow a child abuse investigation to continue.
According to the Tribune, the ruling will allow a lower court to hold a hearing, scheduled for Friday, where lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal will ask a judge to stop the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from launching child abuse investigations against parents who have helped their transgender children get gender-affirming care.
In a February opinion, Paxton equated gender-affirming care with "abuse." Shortly after, Gov. Greg Abbott directed the DFPS to investigate families that provide such care to their children.
The Tribune reports that the State has opened at least five child welfare investigations into parents of transgender children since the governor issued his directive on Feb. 22, "though the real number may be much higher" because the State has declined to provide the number of active investigations, citing the pending litigation.
The ACLU and Lambda Legal have sued on behalf of a State employee who has a transgender child. She alleges she was put on leave and investigated by Child Protective Services after asking questions about the governor's directive.
On March 2, Travis County District Judge Amy Clark Meachum granted a temporary restraining order blocking the State from investigating the family. Meachum set a hearing for Friday to hear arguments on whether the injunction should become permanent and extend to all parents of transgender children in Texas.
Paxton immediately appealed the ruling. On Wednesday, the Texas Third Court of Appeals ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to proceed, according to the Tribune.
Also on Wednesday, Austin-Travis County leaders gathered to proclaim Austin a safe and inclusive city for families of transgender children and the LGBTQ community at large.
This is a developing story. For the latest, check back on the Tribune's full report.
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