The Republican governor approved legislation that prohibits transgender people from changing the sex listed on their birth certificates, and another that bans transgender girls and women from competing in women’s sports.
The birth certificate measure ignores a 2018 federal court ruling that a past law barring transgender people from making the birth certificate changes violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The judge scrapped the ban and warned against new rules. The Idaho attorney general's office, which didn't appeal the ruling, said it could cost $1 million if the state had to defend the ban again and lost.
“There's an injunction that already absolutely forbids this policy, and the government can't enforce this law without violating a court order,” said Peter Renn of Lambda Legal, the law firm that represented two transgender women whose lawsuit led to the court ruling. “The ramifications of contempt (of court) are quite furious.”
He said the court could impose fines and hold top officials at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare responsible should the court order be violated.
Backers of the legislation said the federal court was wrong, and the law is needed so Idaho has accurate birth records. It takes effect July 1.
The sports ban applies to all sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. A girls’ or women’s team will not be open to transgender students who identify as female.
Backers said the law was needed because transgender female athletes have physical advantages.
Opponents said it discriminated against transgender girls and women, and would subject athletes to invasive tests to prove their gender, likely causing some potential athletes to avoid sports.
Republican Rep. Barbara Ehardt, who sponsored the sports ban, has consistently argued that allowing the practice would negate Title IX, the 1972 law barring sex discrimination in education and is credited with opening up athletic competition for girls and women.
She didn't return a call from The Associated Press on Monday.
Both the anti-transgender bills had overwhelming support among Republicans in the House and Senate in numbers great enough to override a veto. Rather than wait out a potential veto, though, both chambers adjourned earlier this month because of coronavirus concerns and would have been powerless to override vetoes.
“We condemn Governor Little’s actions and the actions of dozens of Idaho legislators who are so focused on pleasing their bigoted base instead of doing what is right,” said Mistie Tolman, Idaho director for Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, adding the laws make Idaho one of the “cruelest states in the country.”
Across the U.S., more than 40 bills were introduced this year targeting transgender youth. About half, like one of the Idaho bills, sought to ban transgender girls from competing at various levels of girls' sports. Another large batch of bills sought to ban certain types of gender-transition medical treatment for minors.
None of these bills have been enacted, and most have died. In some other states — including Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, Missouri and Arizona — bills of one or both categories remain technically alive, but most are considered unlikely to win final passage. In some cases, the legislatures are in recess and future scheduling is in limbo because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, the families of three female high school runners have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block transgender athletes in Connecticut from participating in girls' sports.
On March 24, the U.S. Justice Department came out in support of the lawsuit, arguing that the state's inclusive policy violates the federal Title IX law allowing girls equal educational and athletic opportunities.
As US Focuses on Outbreak, Barr’s DOJ Weighs In on Trans Athletes
This article was sourced from TheFederalistpapers
As the full powers of the federal government are being deployed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Attorney General William Barr is letting female athletes know he stands with them as they are forced to compete against “transgender” athletes on the field of sport in Connecticut.
Barr announced last week the U.S. Justice Department is now involved in a federal civil rights lawsuit, which seeks to block biologically male athletes in Connecticut from competing as girls.
The DOJ filed a legal document Tuesday in Hartford siding with the Alliance Defending Freedom — which is representing three high school girls in a lawsuit to stop transgender athletes from competing in girls sports.
The Associated Press reported Barr signed a statement of interest Tuesday siding against a 7-year-old policy of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference allowing biological males to compete against girls.
The DOJ document described transgender girls as “biological males.”
“Under CIAC’s interpretation of Title IX, however, schools may not account for the real physiological differences between men and women. Instead, schools must have certain biological males — namely, those who publicly identify as female — compete against biological females,” the DOJ stated.
“In so doing, CIAC deprives those women of the single-sex athletic competitions that are one of the marquee accomplishments of Title IX,” the statement added.
Forbes reported the CIAC policy was enacted to comply with state law requiring schools to prioritize gender identity of students over biological sex.
Proponents of the lawsuit say the current transgender policy puts many girls at a physical disadvantage, as teen boys are generally naturally stronger and faster than girls.
Forbes reported Connecticut high school track and field athletes Selina Soule, Chelsea Mitchell and Alanna Smith filed the lawsuit to ban transgender athletes from competing against them.
The girls state in their legal filing that they have been “deprived of victories, state titles and scholarship opportunities because they were forced to compete with transgender athletes,” Forbes reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing transgender athletes Terry Miller and Andraya Yearwood in the lawsuit, criticized Barr and the DOJ for becoming involved in the lawsuit during the country’s coronavirus pandemic.
“This is what the Attorney General is prioritizing while 12 people died last night from COVID-19 related complications at the hospital near my house,” ACLU attorney Chase Strangio wrote on Twitter.
“When we let the gov’t police our bodies like this, they will always leave ‘undesirable’ bodies to die.”
This is what the Attorney General is prioritizing while 12 people died last night from COVID-19 related complications at the hospital near my house. When we let the gov’t police our bodies like this, they will always leave “undesirable” bodies to die. pic.twitter.com/VCKuN0STCQ
— Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) March 26, 2020
“Our clients are two high school seniors who are just trying to enjoy their final track season of high school and who now have to contend with the federal government arguing against their right to equal educational opportunities,” Strangio told the AP on Wednesday.
Strangio is described by Forbes as a “trans man.”
The ACLU also criticized Barr on Twitter.
“We have a message to lawmakers and others attacking trans students like Terry: STOP ATTACKING TRANS YOUTH,” the group wrote.
We have a message to lawmakers and others attacking trans students like Terry: STOP ATTACKING TRANS YOUTH. pic.twitter.com/9PXxCTADpl
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 12, 2020
The legal battle is being waged as athletic competitions nationwide are suspended as part of efforts to of the coronavirus.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
This article was sourced from NewsMax Politics