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An Ohio judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the state’s ban on gender-affirming health care from taking effect, handing a preliminary victory to transgender minors seeking care in the state.

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Michael Holbrook, a Republican, granted a request for a temporary restraining order against House Bill 68, which bars minors from accessing treatments including puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery. A “grandfather clause” allows transgender children and teens receiving care prior to the law’s effective date to continue treatment.

Ohio’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed the bill in December, telling reporters at a press conference that the consequences of such a law for transgender children and their families “could not be more profound.” GOP lawmakers voted to override DeWine’s veto the following month.

The law, which also prevents transgender women and girls from competing on female school sports teams, was slated to take effect April 24. Tuesday’s restraining order will expire in two weeks, with an option for renewal.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Ohio and the law firm Goodwin sued Ohio in March on behalf of two transgender minors and their families. They argued that House Bill 68 violates the Ohio constitution’s equal protection clause and a rule preventing laws from covering more than one subject.

Ohio lawmakers in June combined House Bill 68, also known as the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, with a separate measure to bar transgender student-athletes from competing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

“It is not lost upon this Court that the General Assembly was unable to pass the SAFE portion of the Act separately, and it was only upon logrolling in the Saving Women’s Sports provisions that it was able to pass,” Holbrook wrote in his opinion.

Holbrook added that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in arguing that the law violates their constitutional rights.

“There is little doubt as to the irreparable nature of the actual physical injury to plaintiffs upon the enforcement of the Act,” he wrote.

In a statement, ACLU staff attorney Harper Seldin said Holbrook’s ruling is a “victory for transgender Ohioans and their families” but added that the group is prepared to fight the law until it is permanently overturned.

Ohio Attorney General David Yost (R), who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit challenging House Bill 68, did not immediately return a request for comment. Yost after the ACLU filed its lawsuit last month said his office is prepared to defend the law.

Including Ohio, 24 states since 2021 have passed laws that heavily restrict or ban gender-affirming health care for transgender youth, despite statements from major medical organizations that such treatments are safe and medically necessary.

Legal challenges to state laws banning gender-affirming care have yielded mixed results, and federal appeals courts have split on whether the bans are constitutional.

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Idaho’s ban to take effect after it was blocked by a district court in December. The court did not weigh in on whether the law is constitutional.

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