Legal organization petitioned the court to extend its decision to keep sports teams single-sex
A federal district court determined Friday that “sex” should not be defined to include “sexual identity” or “gender identity” in federal statues.
The ruling, from the court case Neese v. Becerra, sets legal groundwork for restricting women’s sports at colleges and elsewhere to biological females.
The ruling, which revolved around a Biden administration regulation that required medical professionals to provide transgender healthcare services, also struck down related rules that would require female scholastic sports to be open to men who identify as women.
That’s because in both cases, the Biden administration argued that Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination applied to “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.”
Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal nonprofit, filed an amicus brief that argued against that interpreation. It represented two collegiate athletes in the brief – Maddie Dichiara at the University of Houston, Madison Kenyon at Idaho State University and high school long jumper Chelsea Mitchell.
However, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Amarillo Division, decided that “because Title IX does not protect ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ status, neither does Section 1557,” according to its Friday ruling.
The ruling also entails that Title IX does not guarantee the rights of males to participate in female sports teams, according to ADF.
“Title IX’s protections center on differences between the two biological sexes—not SOGI [sexual orientation and gender identity] status,” the court wrote in its opinion. “Title IX expressly allows sex distinctions and sometimes even requires them to promote equal opportunity… Defendants’ theory actively ‘undermine[s] one of [Title IX’s] major achievements, giving young women an equal opportunity to participate in sports.”
Even more, “the Defendants’ reinterpretation of Title IX through the Notification imperils the very opportunities for women Title IX was designed to promote and protect—categorically forcing biological women to compete against biological men,” the court wrote.
ADF praised the decision in a news release.
“Female athletes deserve to compete on a fair and level playing field with other women, and federal law protects equal opportunity for women to excel in sports,” ADF Legal Counsel Rachel Csutoros stated. “We’re pleased the court ruled to not only protect female athletes, but also doctors who should never be forced to perform controversial and medically dangerous procedures that violate their conscience and religious beliefs.”
“In its opinion, the court rightly stopped the Biden administration’s gross overreach of its authority and political agenda,” the attorney stated.
Editor’s note: The article has been updated to include comment from ADF.