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Biological men no longer permitted to compete in Idaho women’s sports. Here come the lawsuits.


Buckle up

Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a new law prohibiting biological males from competing in women's sports across the state.

Now advocacy groups are suing, insisting that the move violates constitutional rights.

What are the details?

In late March, Little signed House Bill 500, the Fairness for Women in Sports Act, into law that prevents biological men from competing in women's sports.

A portion of the new law states, "The legislature finds that there are 'inherent differences between men and women,'" and points out that the courts have, indeed "recognized that the inherent, physiological differences between males and females result in different athletic capabilities."

"Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex," the newly signed law points out. "If disputed, a student may establish sex by presenting a signed physician's statement that shall indicate the student's sex-based solely on: (a) The student's internal and external reproductive anatomy; (b) The student's normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone; and (c) An analysis of the student's genetic makeup."

The new law will permit testing of qualified candidates to ensure that they meet the standards of biologically female athletes.

The law is set to go into effect beginning July 1 and applies to all sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges, and universities.

What has been the response?

On Wednesday, Forbes reported that the American Civil Liberties Union and gender advocacy group Legal Voice filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state's new law.

The groups insist that the new law violates constitutional privacy as well as discrimination protections, including the Equal Rights Amendment and Title IX.

The ACLU — which threatened to sue in March over the bill — is requesting the court permanently prevent the state from enforcing the law.

Gabriel Arkles, senior staff attorney with the ACLU, told The Associated Press that the law "illegally targets women and girls who are transgender and intersex and subjects all female athletes to the possibility of invasive genital and genetic screenings."

"In Idaho and around the country, transgender people of all ages have been participating in sports consistent with their gender identity for years," Arkles insisted. "Inclusive teams support all athletes and encourage participation — this should be the standard for all school sports."

Anything else?

Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R) — the bill's co-sponsor — took to Facebook to quell the media outrage on March 31.

She wrote, "Today Governor Little signed H500, Fairness in Women's Sports Act. I have been working on this legislation for 20 months. As both a former Division I Women's Basketball player and Division I Women's basketball Coach for over 15 years, I know first hand that as females, we cannot compete against the inherent physiological advantages that boys & men have."

"Title IX, as well as the women who went before me and helped to pave the way forward, changed my life," Ehardt continued. "I have always felt it incumbent on me to do the same for those who followed. H500 will continue to ensure opportunities for girls & women as we move forward."

"As for the media, this is not anti anything, it is pro opportunities for biological girls & women, just as it has been for the past 48 years under Title IX. Thank you Governor Brad Little," she concluded.

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