I have great news for you!
As you know, Family Policy Alliance of Idaho worked hard to ensure the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor earlier this spring. Sadly, the ACLU is suing the State of Idaho in hopes of undoing this groundbreaking law.
But here’s the good news. The U.S. Department of Education Civil Rights Office just issued a decision today saying that participation in girls’ high school and college sports must be limited to biological females. This means that the federal government agrees with Idaho—girls’ sports are for girls, and boys’ sports are for boys. According to the Education Department, allowing men to play in girls’ sports violates the civil rights of girls to equal educational opportunities protected under Title IX.
I’ve included our press release below. While this news doesn’t guarantee that the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will upheld in federal courts, it is still welcome news for the future of the girls’ sports in Idaho and across the nation!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 28, 2020
BREAKING: U.S. Department of Education Rules Letting Boys Compete in Girls’ Athletic Divisions Violates Federal Civil Rights Law
The ruling is timely as the ACLU has recently sued over a related issue in Idaho
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – Family Policy Alliance applauds the Department of Education for today announcing that letting boys compete in girls’ sports divisions violates Title IX, a federal law that ensures no one can be denied equal access to educational opportunities on the basis of sex. The ruling from the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is in response to a Connecticut policy that permits boys to compete in girls’ sports if they feel that they are girls.
The Department’s ruling is timely, as the ACLU recently challenged an Idaho law called Fairness in Women’s Sports which, unlike the Connecticut policy, ensures that boys cannot compete in girls’ sports. The law, signed just this spring, is the first of its kind in the nation.
In their initial filing, the ACLU expressed concern that Fairness in Women’s Sports was a violation of Title IX – but today’s ruling suggests otherwise.
Blaine Conzatti, Director of Advocacy at Family Policy Alliance of Idaho, shepherded Fairness in Women’s Sports through the Idaho legislature and to the Governor’s desk. Upon hearing today’s news, he commented: “We’ve been saying for years that letting men compete in womens’ high school and college sports violates the spirit of Title IX.”
Title IX played a significant role in elevating women’s sports from recreation-only – or non-existent – status, to the competitive environment it is today. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, “Before Title IX, one in 27 girls played sports. Today that number is two in five.”
Added Conzatti, “This is why the Fairness in Sports Act that becomes law this year in Idaho is so necessary. The Department of Education ruling today makes clear that protecting athletic opportunities for girls means that biological boys need to compete against other boys, not girls.”
The Department’s decision is an acknowledgement that letting biological boys play in girls’ sports is decidedly unfair: men have numerous physiological advantages over women, such as greater muscle mass and cardiovascular capacity, that make it hard or impossible for even the top female athletes to compete in their own sport. Connecticut’s policy, notes the Department, has “denied female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher level competitions, awards, medals, recognition, and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges and other benefits.”
Autumn Leva, a former female runner and Vice President of Strategy at Family Policy Alliance, also added, “Both the ACLU’s challenge to Idaho’s common-sense law and the policies in states like Connecticut that permit boys to take over girls’ sports are a slap in the face to Title IX. The Department of Education today clearly made the right decision to save girls’ sports and preserve the integrity of Title IX. It’s sadly ironic that the ACLU once championed girls sports through Title IX—now they want to turn boys into girls’ sports champions. ”
Family Policy Alliance thanks Alliance Defending Freedom for raising the matter before the U.S. Department of Education, and for this week filing a motion to intervene in the Idaho case as well.