A U.S. District Court has ruled to uphold a law in West Virginia that is designed to keep biological males out of women’s and girl’s athletics.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin rejected a challenge to the law, in an order ruled last Thursday. The challenge sought to allow males who identify as women to compete in female athletics.
In May of 2021, Becky Pepper-Jackson, a transgender student at a West Virginia middle school, filed a lawsuit against the Harrison County Board of Education, the West Virginia Board of Education and State Superintendent of Schools, and the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission. The lawsuit sought to halt a bill that would ensure equal opportunities for women and girls in their sport by preventing biological males from competing against them.
The bill in question was H.B. 3293, also known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act”. Pepper-Jackson wanted to join the girl’s middle school cross country team and alleged the bill would violate federal Title IX rights.
Former West Virginia State University Soccer player, Lainey Armistead, wanted to defend the bill and sought her own legal representation from conservative legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom.
“I believe that protecting fairness in women’s sports is a women’s rights issue. This isn’t just about fair play for me: It’s about protecting fairness and safety for female athletes across West Virginia.”
Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Chritiana Kiefer commented:
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports destroys fair competition, safety on the field, and women’s athletic opportunities. When our laws and policies ignore biological reality, girls and women get hurt. In athletics, this harm may be physical, but they are also losing medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete.”
Judge Goodwin explained that simply identifying as a “girl” or “woman” does not grant you Title IX rights:
“The question before the court is whether the legislature’s chosen definition of ‘girl’ and ‘woman’ in this context is constitutionally permissible. I find that it is. I have no doubt that H.B. 3293 aimed to politicize participation in school athletics for transgender students. Nevertheless, there is not a sufficient record of legislative animus.”
Kiefer called this ruling a “win for reality”:
“Today’s decision is a win for reality. The truth matters, and it is crucial that our laws and policies recognize that the physical differences between men and women matter, especially in a context like sports.”
Franklin Graham, son of famous evangelist Billy Graham, stated in a Facebook post:
“The judge found that the law doesn’t violate either the Constitution or the federal law known as Title IX. The Bible says in Genesis 1:27, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” It’s good to see a court recognizing the simple reality that men and women have significant differences, and that both fairness and safety demand that those differences be respected. I’m thankful for this judge and this win for reality.”
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