BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge nominated to the bench by President Obama and renominated under President Trump has placed a halt on an Idaho law that expressly prohibits biological males from competing in women’s sports.
“The court recognizes that this decision is likely to be controversial,” acknowleged Judge David Nye on Monday. “While the citizens of Idaho are likely to either vehemently oppose, or fervently support, the Act, the Constitution must always prevail.”
“[T]he Act on its face discriminates between cisgender athletes, who may compete on athletic teams consistent with their gender identity, and transgender women athletes, who may not compete on athletic teams consistent with their gender identity,” he said.
“Hence, while the physiological differences the defendants suggest support the categorical bar on transgender women’s participation in women’s sports may justify the Act, they do not overcome the inescapable conclusion that the Act discriminates on the basis of transgender status.”
As previously reported, in February, Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, proposed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”, House Bill 500, which expressly prohibits biological males from joining women’s athletic teams.
“Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex,” the legislation reads in part.
It states that puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones do not resolve concerns about fairness, pointing to a 2019 study that concluded that males who ingested the hormones over a 12-month period still “had an absolute advantage” over their female competitors.
The measure passed both Houses along party lines in March and was signed into law by Gov. Brad Little.
In April, a 19-year-old student who goes by the name Lindsay Hecox filed suit to challenge the law. Hecox ran track and cross-country in high school and now wants to be a part of the Boise State track and cross-country teams. Another student who went by the alias “Jane Doe” also joined the case as a plaintiff.
“Running on a men’s team is not an option for Lindsay. She is not a man, and as a woman who is transgender, it would be painful and humiliating to be forced to be the only woman on a men’s team,” the lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Idaho, read.
It said that Hecox is undergoing testosterone suppression and is taking estrogen, which “decreases [his] muscle mass and size.”
On Monday, Judge Nye sided with Hecox and Doe in granting a preliminary injunction, stating that there is insufficient proof that the inclusion of males who identify as female will negatively impact women’s sports.
“It is inapposite to compare the potential displacement allowing approximately half of the population (cisgender men) to compete with cisgender women, with any potential displacement one half of one percent of the population (transgender women) could cause cisgender women,” he wrote.
Further, “it is not clear that transgender women who suppress their testosterone have significant physiological advantages over cisgender women,” Nye opined.
“Defendants do not address how transgender girls who never undergo male puberty can have ‘an absolute advantage’ over cisgender girls,” he said. “Nor do Defendants address why transgender athletes who have never undergone puberty should be categorically excluded from playing women’s sports in order to protect sexual equality and access to opportunities in women’s sports.”
Nye therefore concluded, “Because proponents fail to show that participation by transgender women athletes threatened sexual equality in sports or opportunities for women under these preexisting policies, the Act’s proffered justifications do not appear to overcome the inequality it inflicts on transgender women athletes.”
It is not yet known whether or not the State will appeal.
Genesis 5:1-2 states, “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them and blessed them and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.”
In Matthew 19:4, Jesus pointed back to the Book of Genesis, stating, “Have ye not read that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female…?”
Scripture also states in Deuteronomy 22:5, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment.” The Geneva Study Bible adds in its commentary, “For that alters the order of nature and shows that you despise God.”