A federal court on Monday upheld a new Florida law that prevents biological males from competing in female sports, ruling that the state has a legitimate interest in “protecting and promoting athletic opportunities for girls.”
The law was signed in 2021 by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the wake of a series of controversies around the country involving transgender-identifying males defeating biological girls in sports. In Connecticut, for example, two high school athletes who are biologically male but who identify as female won a total of 15 state track championships in the female division. It was dubbed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.
The lawsuit was filed in 2021 by a Broward County high school student who is male but identifies as female and wants to play on the girl's volleyball and soccer teams.
Federal Judge Roy K. Altman dismissed the suit, ruling that the law does not violate Title IX or the U.S. Constitution.
The laws’s “gender-based classifications are rooted in real differences between the sexes -- not stereotypes,” Altman wrote.
“In requiring schools to designate sports-team memberships on the basis of biological sex, the statute adopts the uncontroversial proposition that most men and women do have different (and innate) physical attributes,” wrote Altman, a Trump nominee. “Ignoring those real differences would disserve the purpose of the [Constitution’s] Equal Protection Clause, which is to safeguard the principle that ‘all persons similarly situated should be treated alike.’”
Courts around the country “have similarly held that -- given the historic (and ongoing) imbalance in the athletic opportunities that are available to male and female students -- the government has an important interest in protecting and promoting athletic opportunities for girls,” Altman wrote.
Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the law, applauded Altman’s decision.
“The court was right to uphold Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. States like Florida have an interest in protecting women and girls as men continue to take medals, podium spots, and other opportunities away from women in female sports,” said ADF senior counsel Christiana Kiefer. “Biological differences matter. As more women lose opportunities to men with natural physical advantages, lawmakers are acting to preserve equal opportunities and common sense. If men are allowed to compete in women’s sports, women will continue to face discrimination that Title IX prohibits.”
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Eivaisla
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.
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