SAN FRANCISCO — (08-20-23) — Last Thursday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed the LGBTQ community a victory when it refused to allow Idaho to enforce a first-in-the-nation ban on transgender women and girls from participating in female sports leagues, saying the measure is likely unconstitutional.

The Court delivered a victory for LGBTQ rights by upholding an injunction blocking Idaho’s ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act‘, the first of many anti-LGBTQ laws to be enacted by Republican-led states.

“This is an important victory for common sense, equality, and the rights of transgender youth under the law,” said Chase Strangio, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Idaho measure that Republican Governor Brad Little signed into law in March 2020, bars transgender women and girls of all ages from participating in female sports teams at public schools, primary school and colleges statewide.

Twenty-two other states have adopted similar laws governing sports, most recently in North Carolina, according to the conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which had argued before the court in favor of reviving Idaho’s anti-LGBTQ law.

“When our laws ignore biological reality and allow males to compete in women’s sports, women are harmed and denied athletic opportunities,” said Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christiana Kiefer in a statement.

U.S. Circuit Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw, an appointee of former Democratic President Bill Clinton, acknowledged those arguments but said a lower-court judge did not abuse his discretion in finding that the categorical ban likely violates transgender students’ equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment.

Last April, the Biden administration’s Department of Education proposed a rule change that would prohibit schools from enacting bans on transgender athletes from teams that are consistent with their gender identities, while at the same time offering flexibility on exceptions for the highest levels of competition.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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