Arizona transgender athlete law blocked by federal judge

By Lindsey C. Riley, Tom Maxedon
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Thursday, July 20, 2023 - 5:38pm
Updated: Saturday, July 22, 2023 - 10:51am

A federal judge on Thursday blocked Arizona from excluding two transgender girls from playing on girls sports teams.

U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Zipps rejected arguments by state schools chief Tom Horne that it would be unfair to allow trans girls to compete in female sports. The judge said evidence Horne presented claiming that prepubescent trans girls are stronger does not hold up under scrutiny.

Zipps also said that the 2022 law violates Title IX, a federal law that bars discrimination based on sex in educational opportunities. She said it deprives transgender girls "the benefits of sports programs and activities that their non-transgender classmates enjoy.''

The order only bars enforcement of the law while it’s argued in the courts. 

Horne vowed to pursue the case, saying it ultimately will be decided by the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. "And they will rule in our favor,'' he said.

Horne spoke during the International Women’s Sports Summit in Denver on Friday.

"The newspapers have had a number of stories about girls who work very hard to excel in their sports with dreams of making the varsity team, maybe getting a college scholarship or even dreaming of the Olympics. Then, along comes a male they cannot compete against and they were devastated, their dreams shattered," said Horne during his speech.

The International Women's Sports Summit is sponsored by the Independent Council on Women's Sports, a Section 501(c) (3) charitable organization and, according to its website, "is a network and advocacy group comprised of current and former collegiate and professional women athletes, their families and supporters."

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