Appeals Court Overturns WV Transgender Sports Ban

Appeals Court Overturns WV Transgender Sports Ban

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a West Virginia law that banned boys identifying as girls from competing against girls in sports.

In a 2-1 ruling, the three-judge panel said the law, called the Save Women’s Sports Act, violates Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools. Gov. Jim Justice signed the bill into law in 2021.

The West Virginia case involved a 13-year-old male who has identified as a girl since the third grade and has been taking puberty blockers for more than five years. The child competed on girls’ teams during elementary school but would not have been allowed to join a middle school track team under the ban.

According to the Associated Press, West Virginia is “one of at least 24 states with a law on the books barring transgender women and girls from competing in certain women’s or girls’ sports competitions.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said he was disappointed in the court’s decision.

“We must keep working to protect women’s sports so that women’s safety is secured and girls have a truly fair playing field,” Morrisey said. “We know the law is correct and will use every available tool to defend it.”

Attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) worked with West Virginia to defend the law. ADF represented Lainey Armistead, a former West Virginia State University soccer player who intervened in the suit to defend the state law. Following the ruling, ADF said in a press release that they may appeal.

“Title IX was designed to provide women with fair competition, and West Virginia’s women’s sports law does the same,” said ADF Legal Counsel Rachel Rouleau. “Across the country, women and girls are unjustly losing medals, podium spots, public recognition and the opportunity to compete when males take their places. While everyone knows that men competing against women creates huge disadvantages and safety concerns, the 4th Circuit fell prey to activists who are pushing an ideology over what is just for women and girls. We are considering all legal options to protect women’s sports, including an appeal of this decision.”

Above: Former collegiate soccer player Lainey Armistead intervened in the suit on the side of West Virginia’s law.

Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom

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