Courts LGBTQ Sports

ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Idaho Transgender Athlete Ban

The ACLU has filed a complaint in Boise federal court on Wednesday, April 14 following Idaho Governor Brad Little’s signing of a bill banning the participation of transgender women and girls from women’s public and university sports into law on March 30.

The lawsuit challenges the new law, set to go into effect on July 1. According to Cynthia Sewell for the Idaho Statesman, this would make “Idaho the first state to impose an outright ban on participation of transgender athletes, and it’s the only statewide law regulating transgender and intersex athletes in the country.”

The ACLU’s 60-page complaint states that, “Idaho now stands alone in imposing the threat of unwanted, medically unnecessary invasions to bar and chill participation in women’s and girl’s athletics.”

Attorneys from the National ACLU, ACLU of Idaho, Legal Voice, and Cooley LLP have filed the complaint on behalf of 19-year-old Lindsay Hecox, a transgender Boise State University Student as well as a 17-year-old, anonymous, non-transgender student from Boise High School; both of whom identify as female. In an interview with the Associated Press, Hecox said that she “would like to compete as a female” and that she shouldn’t have her “privacy invaded.”

The NCAA already has a policy in place that allows transgender athletes to compete, but according to AP, “the sponsor of the Idaho law, Republican Barbara Ehardt, has called the NCAA policy “permissive.’”

According to Sewell, “Attorneys are asking the judge to enter a preliminary and permanent injunction barring the law from going into effect because they say it violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection, due process and search and seizure clauses, as well as Title IX, the 1972 law that bars sex discrimination in education.”

In a news release from ACLU of Idaho Legal Director Ritchie Eppink, he remarked that, “businesses, major employers, schools, doctors and counselors have all warned that this was is terrible for Idaho.” This comes after five of Idaho’s largest companies also decided to speak out against the state’s failure to support diversity and has encouraged the rejection of this legislation.

Sources: Idaho Statesman 4/15; New York Times 4/15; Associated Press 4/15

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