Judge Rules Miss USA Can Exclude Transgender Women

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a transgender woman who accused Miss United States of America of discriminating against her after they denied her the right to compete because she was not a biological female, according to reports.

Pageant contestant Anita Noelle Green sued Miss U.S.A in December of 2019 after she alleged the pageant denied her application and refunded her entry fees on the day she applied.

The Miss U.S.A pageant only allows “natural born biological females” to compete, according to a Motion to Dismiss filed by the pageant.

The pageant argued that under the First Amendment it has rights to free association. The pageant argued that the pageant is meant for biological women and that allowing Green to participate would “undermine its vision” and that had the court ruled in favor of Green it would be undermining the pageants “message about empowering only biological women.”

“As the caption of the Complaint shows, defendant and its pageant are called ‘Miss United States of America. That simple, undisputed fact, and the First Amendment rights of free association and expression…dictates the dismissal of this case,” the motion read.

The pageant reasoned their argument on the basis that their pageant “promotes, celebrates, and encourages biological, natural born women by performing pageants across the country that give women confidence-building opportunities,” according to the motion.

“To achieve its mission and to promote its message of biological female empowerment, Defendant has eligibility rules for contestants…These rules are essential to create an equal playing field for all female contestants and to promote Defendant’s message of what it means to be a woman– a biological female,” the motion stated.

U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman ruled in favor of the pageant, citing First Amendment concerns.

Mosman ruled the pageant is an “expressive” organization, according to Courthouse News. Mosman found the pageant has a First Amendment right to its message and cannot be forced to change it, according to Willamette Week. This means that the pageant can exclude people whose participation wouldn’t fall in line with the message they are promoting, according to the report.

“I view it as an association that cannot under the Constitution be required to allow plaintiff to participate in what defendant says is a contradiction of that message,” Mosman ruled from the bench, according to The Oregonian.

John T. Kaempf, who represented the pageant, hailed the ruling in a statement to the Daily Caller.

“This is a great victory for supporters of the First Amendment. My client has nothing against the LGBTQ community. But the federal court’s decision upholds the important First Amendment right not to have others force you to present a message you do not support. My client believes that only biological, naturally born females are women. Others have the right to hold a different view.”

“True diversity, and freedom of speech, means different viewpoints are acceptable,” he added. “Plaintiff tried to use the shield of anti-discrimination laws as a sword to attack my client for believing something different than plaintiff. The First Amendment does not allow this.”

“Miss USA has the right to operate its organization in accordance with its beliefs about biological sex,” Kaempf added. “Allowing biological males to participate in all-female event undermines the very purpose of this organization.”

Green, who has competed in the Miss Universe Pageant and was the first transgender contestant for Miss Montana, said the ruling was disappointing but that she will continue to fight against alleged discrimination, according to The Oregonian.

“I believe Miss United States of America is on the wrong side of history for choosing to actively discriminate against transgender people, but the road to creating meaningful change has always been a long and bumpy one,” Green said.

“Transgender women are women. My message has always been consistent and my message is this: Every person has beauty.”

Mosmon’s decision came just as the House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to prevent “discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.” (RELATED: ‘Biology Is Not Bigotry’: Republican Lawmakers Rebuke ‘Equality Act’ Over Transgender Policies, Abortion Mandates)

Should the Act pass the Senate, it would allow biological men to use facilities designated for biological women. It would also allow biological men to compete in women’s sports, among other things.

The Daily Caller has reached out to Green but did not receive a response at the time of publication.