POLITICS

Conservative Group Wants Idaho's Transgender Sports Ban Reinstated

The Alliance Defending Freedom is appealing a federal judge's ruling that temporarily overturned the state's restrictions on trans female athletes.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A conservative Christian group is appealing a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily blocked an Idaho law banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports.

Alliance Defending Freedom on Wednesday filed its appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a U.S. judge last month issued a temporary injunction against the law that took effect last summer.

The temporary injunction means transgender athletes in Idaho who want to participate in sports that match their gender identity can do so while the case proceeds in court.

The bill approved by the state’s Republican-dominated Legislature and signed into law by Republican Gov. Brad Little prohibits transgender students who identify as female from playing on female teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. The ban does not apply to men’s teams.

Law supporters have said allowing transgender athletes on girls’ and women’s teams would negate nearly 50 years of progress women have made since the landmark 1972 Title IX federal legislation credited with opening up sports to female athletes plus access to college sports scholarships and other opportunities.

The American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit filed against Idaho in April on behalf of a transgender athlete at Boise State University challenged the constitutionality of the law. The group contends the law violates the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because it is discriminatory.

The court last month allowed Alliance Defending Freedom, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, to intervene in the case on behalf of two female athletes at Idaho State University. The group takes on cases it says are “against religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, freedom of speech, and marriage and family.”

“Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports diminishes women’s athletic opportunities and destroys fair competition,” the group’s attorney, Christiana Holcomb, said in a statement.

U.S. District Judge David Nye in his ruling last month said the preliminary injunction was justified because the plaintiffs were likely to win in court.

Nye in issuing the injunction wrote that the law’s ban on transgender athletes “stands in stark contrast to the policies of elite athletic bodies that regulate sports both nationally and globally.”