Wednesday 17 April 2024

Circuit Court Overturns West Virginia Law Barring Boys In Girls’ Sports

 On Tuesday, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a West Virginia law that barred biological boys from participating in girls’ sports.

The court claimed that HB 3293, passed in 2021, violated Title IX, which bars sex-based discrimination in schools. The case revolved around Becky Pepper Jackson, a 13-year-old boy who has been taking puberty-blocking medication and who was barred by the state from continuing to be a member of the middle school girls’ cross country and track team.

“I will keep fighting to safeguard Title IX. We must keep working to protect women’s sports so that women’s safety is secured and girls have a truly fair playing field,” Republican West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said after the decision was made. “We know the law is correct and will use every available tool to defend it.”

“Women and young girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Rachel Rouleau stated. “The court’s decision undermines equal opportunities and contradicts both biological reality and common sense. Title IX was designed to provide women with fair competition, and West Virginia’s women’s sports law does the same. Across the country, women and girls are unjustly losing medals, podium spots, public recognition, and the opportunity to compete when males take their places. While everyone knows that men competing against women creates huge disadvantages and safety concerns, the 4th Circuit fell prey to activists who are pushing an ideology over what is just for women and girls. We are considering all legal options to protect women’s sports, including an appeal of this decision.”


The court ruled 2-1 to overturn the West Virginia law. The dissenting judge, G. Steven Agee, wrote that the opinion “turns Title IX on its head and reverses the monumental work Title IX has done to promote girls’ sports from its inception … B.P.J. displaced at least one hundred biological girls at track-and-field events and pushed multiple girls out of the top ten. Similarly, by making the conference championships in two events (something reserved for the top three girls on a team), B.P.J. took away at least two biological girls’ opportunities to participate in the conference championships. And this was in a single season. Thanks to the new-found rubric of today’s majority opinion, such displacement will become commonplace.”

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