(RightWing.org) – Over the last several years, there has been much controversy surrounding transgender women participating in women’s sports. Across the country, public K-12 schools, as well as colleges, have affirmed transgender participation in sports based on gender identity. On June 15, 2022, President Joe Biden issued an executive order encouraging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to intervene or file statements of interest in lawsuits challenging state bans prohibiting transgender children from partaking in school activities.
On May 26, 2021, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of a transgender 11-year-old girl. Becky Pepper-Jackson is a biological male who wanted to try out for a middle school girl’s cross-country team. The school denied her due to a state law that prohibited biological males from participating in female sports, and the ACLU sued. In response to the legal complaint, a West Virginia federal judge ruled in favor of the state law as constitutional.
Judge Rules Law Restricting Sports by Biological Sex Is Constitutional
The lawsuit contended the West Virginia law banning transgender athletes from participating in sports based on gender identity was discriminatory and violated Title IX based on sex and transgender status. Additionally, they also claimed it was unconstitutional. Attorneys alleged the legislation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which declares a state cannot deny equal protection of the laws within its boundaries.
On Thursday, January 5, US District Judge Joseph Goodwin disagreed with the lawsuit. Judge Goodwin agreed with the plaintiffs that the Save Women’s Sports Bill targeted transgender individuals and noted the legislature clearly wanted to prohibit transgender girls from participating on a sports team that didn’t match their biological gender.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in response to the ruling the case wasn’t just about biology — it was about fairness in women’s athletics. He emphasized the state had an interest in safeguarding girls and women and protecting their athletic opportunities.
Judges Key Findings
Judge Goodwin’s ruling highlighted three important distinctions. First, he noted transgender girls are biological males and, without medical intervention, would endure male puberty. He stated biological males usually perform better athletically than females.
Second, the judge noted the case came down to the state’s definition of “girl” and “woman” as succinctly defined in the law as it relates to biological sex and found it constitutional. Goodwin noted in his ruling it’s indisputable a person has either male or female sex chromosomes. He also said the extent hormone therapies play in reducing a transgender girl’s athletic advantage over biological girls was debatable.
Lastly, he wrote the law did not violate Title IX. The reason — transgender girls can still play sports that match their biological sex. The law doesn’t prohibit them from participating on teams that match their birth gender.
The ruling was also a rebuke of sorts to the Biden administration. The DOJ wrote a statement of interest supporting the lawsuit.
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