Earlier this month, LA reported that Idaho was the first state to ban transgender women from participating in women’s athletics. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, signed by Governor Brad Little, legalized the practice of requiring women to partake in physical, genetic, and hormone testing in order to compete, should their gender be questioned.
The proposed law was strongly opposed by a number of advocacy and civil rights groups when it was first introduced. As we anticipated, two of those civil rights groups, the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and Legal Voice, have now filed suit in a federal district court seeking to strike the law. The lawsuit alleges the Act, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, violates: (1) the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause because it is discriminatory; (2) Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable invasions of privacy; and (3) Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.
This will be an important case to watch. As the first of its kind, the lawsuit – and the court’s ultimate decision – may set the tone for how other governmental entities, including public school districts, colleges, and universities, address the unique circumstances faced by transgender student athletes.