Last week, the Biden Department of Justice filed a brief in federal court opposing a West Virginia law that prohibits biological boys from playing on girls' teams, saying it violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
The law, H.B. 3293, prohibits high school and college sports teams that are "designated for female[s]" from being open to the male sex. The bill says that "classification of teams according to biological sex is necessary to promote equal athletic opportunities for the female sex."
But in a Statement of Interest brief filed in federal court, the Department of Justice opposed the law. The DOJ sided with an 11-year-old biological male who identifies as female and who wants to compete on middle school girls' cross-country and track teams. The 11-year-old athlete "is a girl, not a boy," the DOJ brief says.
The Department of Justice claims that the West Virginia law violates Title IX, a 1972 law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities. The DOJ brief also claims the law violates the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause.
"The United States has a significant interest in ensuring that all students, including students who are transgender, can participate in an educational environment free of unlawful discrimination and that the proper legal standards are applied to claims under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause," the brief says.
In Connecticut, two transgender athletes won a total of 15 state track titles. The two athletes were biologically male but identified as female.
Supporters of the West Virginia law have referenced the controversy over the Connecticut runners as a reason to prohibit a similar situation from taking place in their state.
The DOJ brief mentions the two runners, although it doesn't acknowledge they won state titles.
"The existence of two runners in another state fails to provide an 'exceedingly persuasive justification' for H.B. 3293's categorical bar," the brief says.
The West Virginia law asserts that there "are inherent differences between biological males and biological females, and that these differences are cause for celebration, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States in United States v. Virginia (1996)."
"Biological males would displace females to a substantial extent if permitted to compete on teams designated for biological females," the text of the law says.
The Biden Department of Justice also filed a Statement of Interest opposing an Arkansas law that bans gender transition procedures for children and teens.
Photo courtesy: Jeffrey F. Lin/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.