June 5, 2020

Family Policy Alliance Thanks Idaho Attorney General’s Office for Defending Fairness in Women’s Sports Act

The law, challenged by the ACLU, ensures only biological girls can compete in girls’ sports

BOISE, Idaho – Family Policy Alliance thanks the office of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden for last night’s filing in defense of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act after the ACLU filed a challenge over the law in federal court in April.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act protects girls’ athletic opportunities by ensuring that only biological females can compete in girls’ sports. It is based on the idea that sports should happen on a level playing field – and that letting biological boys play in girls’ sports is decidedly unfair because of the inherent physical advantages males generally possess.

Blaine Conzatti, Director of Advocacy at Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, was instrumental in shepherding the law from a legislative draft to passing both Idaho legislative chambers with a veto-proof supermajority, to being signed into Idaho law – and becoming the first law of its kind in the nation. “By defending this law,” observed Conzatti, “Attorney General Wasden’s office is protecting the interests of female athletes in Idaho. Girls’ sports are for girls, not boys. When biological men enter girls’ sports, our girls are put at a competitive disadvantage, and their athletic opportunities suffer. Thank you, Attorney General Wasden, for working (diligently) to make sure opportunities for girls are protected.”

The state’s filing includes expert testimony from Dr. Gregory A. Brown, an exercise science professor at the University of Nebraska Kearney. His testimony sums up the fairness concerns which underscore the necessity of the law: “At the level of elite, college, high school, and recreational competition, men or boys have an advantage over comparably aged women or girls, in almost all athletic contests; Biological male physiology and anatomy is the basis for the performance advantage that men or boys have over women or girls, in almost all athletic contests… .”  This typically remains true, Dr. Brown notes, even after post-pubescent males undergo testosterone suppression and receive cross-sex hormones.

The state’s filing also addresses Title IX, the federal law that ensures no one can be denied access to or discriminated against in federally funded education programs on the basis of sex. This argument was recently corroborated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Right, which recently ruled that a Connecticut policy allowing boys to play in girls’ sports violates Title IX – and could result in the offending body losing its federal funding. The state nods to this ruling in its own brief, writing, “Plaintiffs’ argument flies in the face of a well-established physiological fact recognized by courts and recently confirmed by the [Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights]: allowing biological males to compete in female sports is unfair to biological females due to males’ inherent physical advantages.” (brackets added for clarity)

Citing a Ninth Circuit decision, the state asserts a government interest in “redressing past discrimination against women in athletics and promoting equality of athletic opportunity between the sexes” – something the ACLU once stood for, as well. With this lawsuit, the ACLU has taken a sharp turn away from advancing opportunities reserved for girls, instead attempting to give those same opportunities to boys.

Family Policy Alliance applauds the state’s defense and a pending intervention by Alliance Defending Freedom, and hopes the Idaho District Court will choose to save girls’ sports by upholding the law.

Media Contact:

Robert Noland, (719) 308-2822, Media@FamilyPolicyAlliance.com


Family Policy Alliance works to advance biblical citizenship and promote good public policy that protects religious freedom, families, and life.




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