All sports fans love a good comeback story. Countless books and movies portray the underdog’s determination to overcome the odds, the naysayers, and previous defeats to return to the glory of victory.
If a victory in federal court is any indication, women’s sports—and moreover, biological reality—might be this year’s comeback kids.
A federal judge recently upheld West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act, rejecting a legal challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union that would have undermined women’s sports in the state by allowing males who identify as female to compete in girls and women’s sports.
Federal District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin had previously granted a motion for preliminary injunction to stop the law from going into effect while the case, B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education, proceeded. Typically, this would indicate that the court was leaning toward striking down the law.
But once more complete scientific evidence and legal authority was put before Goodwin, he reversed course, vacated his previous order, and dismissed the lawsuit.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Lainey Armistead, a former West Virginia State University soccer player who intervened to defend the law on behalf of her teammates. ADF is an alliance-building, nonprofit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
“While some females may be able to outperform some males, it is generally accepted that, on average, males outperform females athletically because of inherent physical differences between the sexes,” Goodwin wrote in his decision. He continued:
This is not an overbroad generalization, but rather a general principle that realistically reflects the average physical differences between the sexes. Given [the challenger’s] concession that circulating testosterone in males creates a biological difference in athletic performance, I do not see how I could find that the state’s classification based on biological sex is not substantially related to its interest in providing equal athletic opportunities for females.
Men and women are fundamentally, biologically different, and as the judge noted, “It is beyond dispute that, barring rare genetic mutations … a person either has male sex chromosomes or female sex chromosomes,” and “a transgender girl is biologically male.”
The laws of nature and of nature’s God, centuries of history and tradition, common law, and most recently, Title IX of the Civil Rights Act all reflect this reality and self-evident truth.
Adherence to this truth is essential to protecting fairness and safety for women in sports. Rejecting reality produces immediate harm to women and girls and inevitable harm to institutions upon which our nation’s future rests.
It remains to be seen if the ACLU will appeal the district court’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and if this victory for reality will be sustained or is merely temporary.
Some may see the necessity of enacting the Save Women’s Sports Act and its defense in court as a sad commentary on the current state of affairs in our culture.
But contrary to popular opinion, the deepest divide in our nation and culture is not between political parties, races, socioeconomic classes, or geographic regions. Those distinctions clearly exist but can be bridged by uniting factors that outweigh the division.
A much deeper and wider gulf separates those who still maintain a firm grasp on reality from those who are willfully abandoning—even suppressing—reality in pursuit of ideological priorities. In West Virginia, reality has gained an important victory that may signal a turning point in the conflict.
West Virginia’s Legislature and governor were willing to publicly affirm reality, common sense, and truth. A young woman had the courage to stand up in court for herself, her teammates, and little girls everywhere. And a federal judge properly applied the appropriate scrutiny and delivered on our nation’s promise of equality and justice under the law.
This victory is cause for hopeful celebration. It is an indication that reality might just be on the comeback trail.
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