A U.S. District Court has upheld a West Virginia state law that protects female athletes by prohibiting biological males from playing on girl’s teams.
In an order issued Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Goodwin rejected a legal challenge that would have undermined women’s sports in the state by allowing males who identify as female to compete with females in girls and women’s sports.
In May 2021, Becky Pepper-Jackson, a transgender girl 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 to halt a bill that would ensure equal opportunities for women and girls in sports.
Pepper-Jackson wished to join her middle school’s girls’ cross-country team and alleged that West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act or, H.B. 3293, violated her federal Title IX rights.
Lainey Armistead, a former West Virginia State University soccer player, wanted to intervene in the lawsuit to defend the bill.
“I believe that protecting fairness in women’s sports is a women’s rights issue,” said Armistead. “This isn’t just about fair play for me: It’s about protecting fairness and safety for female athletes across West Virginia.”
The conservative legal firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represented her.
“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,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Kiefer.
She added, “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.”
In the court’s 23-page decision, Goodwin wrote Thursday that although transgender-identifying students deserve respect, the state’s definition of “girl” and “woman” does not violate Title IX.
“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,” Goodwin wrote. “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 calls the decision 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,” she said in a statement.
“The court was right to affirm that West Virginia’s law is not only constitutional but consistent with Title IX,” Keifer added.
Eighteen Republican-controlled states have enacted “Fairness in Women’s Sports” legislation that aims to prevent biological males from competing on girls’ and women’s sports teams, according to Fox News.
As CBN News reported in January of 2022, a clear majority of Americans are not going along with the idea that there are multiple genders beyond male and female. They say in reality, there are only two.