In a victory for Alliance Defending Freedom, the ACLU has withdrawn a lawsuit that challenged an Indiana law that would keep girls’ school sports exclusive to biological females.
ADF Legal reports that in September of last year, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit on behalf of seven female athletes, three of whom they represent in separate lawsuits, in support of Indiana law HB 1041.
The law, authored by Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Ind.), requires that for purposes of interscholastic athletic events, school corporations, public schools, nonpublic schools and certain athletic associations “need to expressly designate an athletic team or sport as either male, female or coeducational sports.” It also prohibits males, based on the student’s biological sex at birth in accordance with the student’s genetics and reproductive biology, from participating on an athletic team or sport designated as being a female, women’s, or girls’ athletic team or sport.
In August, a federal judge in Indianapolis had ruled against the law and granted a preliminary injunction, allowing a 10-year-old biological male, represented by the ACLU, to join an all-girls softball team in the Indianapolis Public School district.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys asked the 7th Circuit to reverse the district court’s ruling in the lawsuit, A.M. v. Indianapolis Public Schools.
The brief explained how “biological males in many states have begun to compete in and dominate women’s sports, taking women’s spots in athletic competitions, their place on the podium and in the history books, and their chance to gain scholarships.”
ADF attorneys argued that a “drastic preliminary injunction would be premature at best given the complex factual background before the Court” and that the Act complies with the Equal Protection Clause.
The brief also stated that the Act complies with Title IX because Title IX deals with sex, not gender identity, and Title IX sometimes requires sex-separated teams in sports.
The brief concluded that separating sports based on gender identity (instead of biological sex) “doesn’t promote fairness or safety. Instead, this proposal would undermine our country’s 50-year effort to level the playing field for biological women in sports.” It argued that it would allow male athletes to keep displacing females, “removing them from the podium and sometimes even from entire playing fields.”
The case has now been dropped, and the lower court decision will be vacated, allowing Indiana’s law to go into effect.
Rachel Csutoros, ADF Legal Counsel for the Center for Conscience Initiatives, says girls have the right to be able to win, not just participate. “Biological distinction in sports is not just common sense; it is necessary to ensure girls in Indiana can continue to play the sports they love on a fair and level playing field,” says Csutoros.
This is not the only case involving fairness in women’s sports that Alliance Defending Freedom is involved in. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer says, “Female athletes have fought long and hard for equal opportunities, and they deserve to compete on a level playing field. Men and women are different, and those real physical differences make it unfair to force women and girls to compete against bigger, faster, and stronger males.”
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
They have offices located in Washington, D.C.; Lansdowne, Virginia; Lawrenceville, Georgia and Scottsdale, Arizona.
Alliance Defending Freedom International division offices are located in New York, New York (United Nations); Vienna, Austria; Brussels, Belgium; Geneva, Switzerland; Strasbourg, France; London, England and Mexico City, Mexico. In addition, ADF and ADF International are also allied with private attorneys throughout the world.
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