Gov. Wes Moore issued an executive order this week declaring that state agencies shall “take whatever action is necessary and coordinate to protect” people or entities involved with providing gender-affirming care from legal punishments by other states. The order also prohibits sharing medical records of transgender individuals for potential investigations.
Moore (D) signed the executive order during a LGBTQIA+ reception Monday evening and follows his recent proclamation recognizing June as Pride Month in Maryland.
“In the State of Maryland, nobody should have to justify their own humanity,” Moore said in a written statement. “This order is focused on ensuring Maryland is a safe place for gender affirming care, especially as other states take misguided and hateful steps to make gender affirming care cause for legal retribution.”
The executive order says that Moore, as governor, shall “refuse to surrender, on demand of the executive authority of any other state, any person who…is charged with a criminal violation of a law of another state where the violation alleged involves the provision of, assistance with, securing of, or receipt of” gender-affirming treatment permitted under Maryland law.
Transgender rights activists are celebrating the executive order.
“Now, anyone seeking or providing gender affirming care in Maryland will be safe from out of state litigation,” the Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition tweeted Tuesday about the executive order.
Many transgender and nonbinary people seek medical treatments such as hormone replacement therapy or puberty blockers to encourage or discourage development of certain secondary sex characteristics and align with their gender identity.
Meanwhile, other states have attempted to restrict transgender people from accessing gender-affirming care, specifically targeting the care of transgender minors.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, which is tracking the progress of bans on gender-affirming care for minors, more than two dozen states have passed such bans, and seven states are currently considering them.
Many of those state efforts to ban or restrict gender-affirming care for trans kids have been challenged through the courts.
On April 26, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint challenging a Tennessee law set to go into effect July 1 that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The DOJ says that the Tennessee law violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.
Just Tuesday, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction on bans against gender-affirming care for three Florida families, potentially spelling trouble for the state’s new laws banning gender-affirming care for minors, according to States Newsroom affiliate, Florida Phoenix.