The Department of Justice filed a statement Friday backing Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which has been challenged by a lawsuit aimed at preventing the bill from becoming law.
Republican Gov. Brad Little signed the nation’s first “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” on March 30, 2020. It will take effect July 1 and would prevent female sports teams from allowing a transgender athlete who identifies as a female to compete, WHIO TV 7 previously reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union and Legal Voice (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in April aimed at preventing the bill from becoming law. ACLU called the bill discriminatory and alleged that it is an invasion of privacy, WHIO TV 7 reported.
“Allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports is fundamentally unfair to female athletes,” Attorney General William P. Barr said according to a press release Friday. “Under the Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause allows Idaho to recognize the physiological differences between the biological sexes in athletics. Because of these differences, the Fairness Act’s limiting of certain athletic teams to biological females provides equal protection.”
“This limitation is based on the same exact interest that allows the creation of sex-specific athletic teams in the first place — namely, the goal of ensuring that biological females have equal athletic opportunities. Single-sex athletics is rooted in the reality of biological differences between the sexes and should stay rooted in objective biological fact.”
“Allowing biological males to compete in all-female sports is fundamentally unfair to female athletes. Under the Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause allows Idaho to recognize the physiological differences between the biological sexes in athletics.”https://t.co/aDhvthDccL
— Kerri Kupec DOJ (@KerriKupecDOJ) June 19, 2020
The DOJ’s comments were filed as “a statement of interest in Idaho federal court,” according to the press release. Barr challenged the ACLU’s claim that the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause protects transgender athletes.
“In its statement of interest, the United States explains that the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution does not require States to abandon their efforts to provide biological women with equal opportunity to compete for, and enjoy the life-long benefits that flow from, participation in school athletics in order to accommodate the team preferences of transgender athletes,” according to the DOJ’s press release.
“Put differently, the Constitution does not require Idaho to provide the special treatment plaintiffs request, under which biological males are allowed to compete against biological females if and only if the biological males are transgender.”
The DOJ follows two female college athletes who have requested to be part of the lawsuit. The two young women, Madison Kenyon, 19 and Mary Marshall, 20, are being represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and wish for the lawsuit to be dismissed. (RELATED: Female College Track Stars Step Up To Help Idaho Fight Off Lawsuit Over Banning Transgender Athletes)