BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) — A judge has denied a stay in the legal battle over West Virginia’s policy about transgender athletes in sports.
Back in January, a Federal Court ruled with the state in B.P.J., et al. v. West Virginia Board of Education, determining that the Save Women’s Sports Bill, which separates sports teams by biological sex, is constitutional.
The lawsuit was filed by the family of a Bridgeport middle schooler who wanted to compete on the girls’ cross country and track teams. Judge Joseph Goodwin wrote a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of the Act against her, allowing her to compete on the girls’ teams while the case was pending.
Goodwin wrote that because he does not find that the middle schooler’s case is likely to succeed on her as-applied challenge of the Act on appeal, he denied her motion for a stay.
Goodwin’s decision gives several reasons for that conclusion, one of which was Title IX.
As for Title IX, which authorizes sex-separate sports, “[t]here is no serious debate that [its] endorsement . . . refers to biological sex.” Id. at 21–22. Like the alleged interest put forth by the state in this case, the goal of Title IX “was to increase opportunities for women and girls in athletics.” Id. at 21 (citing Williams v. Sch. Dist. of Bethlehem, Pa., 998 F.2d 168, 175 (3d Cir. 1993)). Thus, I could not, and still cannot, find that the Act, “which largely mirrors Title IX, violates Title IX.” Id. at 22.Judge Joseph Goodwin
Goodwin also wrote that B.P.J.’s lawsuit never challenged the practice of separating sports by sex, only the state’s definitions of “male” and “female” in the Save Women’s Sports Bill.
In this case, the state, claiming an interest in promoting equal athletic opportunities for females, drew the line at biological sex determined at birth. It is common knowledge that “sex, and the physical characteristics that flow from it,” are linked “to athletic performance and fairness in sports.” Id. at 19.Judge Joseph Goodwin
Click here to read Goodwin’s full decision.