NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of Tennessee to stop the gender-affirming care ban from taking effect, much to the chagrin of state Republican lawmakers.
“I’m very disappointed,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) said. “It’s another blatant overreach by the Biden administration through their weaponized Department of Justice to come in and try to thwart and subvert the will of the Tennessee people.”
But Democrats pushed back, saying if the state is going to push arguably questionable legislation, it needs oversight.
“If the state is not going to do it, it’s important that the federal government will come in and protect the people of Tennessee,” Senate Minority Leader Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) said.
This isn’t the only bill Johnson has sponsored that’s facing suit. A federal judge also blocked his bill to ban children from drag shows.
“When we debated this legislation, we told the majority party, ‘This is unconstitutional,’” Akbari said. “Obscenity is already defined, you are basically chasing a problem that doesn’t exist.”
With money piling up to litigate, WKRN asked Johnson if it’s worth it. “We’re never wasting our time or wasting money when we’re trying to protect children,” he said.
But Akbari argued this doesn’t really protect children at all.
“It’s frivolous, and it wastes time and taxpayer dollars. We say we’re a well-run state, we’re first in the nation, stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars,” she said. “But this, to me, is not an example of that, and legislation that is similar to this is more of the same.”
Around this time last year, a court blocked an incoming Alabama law banning gender-affirming care. That move came also after the DOJ joined a lawsuit against the state.