FORT LAUDERDALE (LifeSiteNews) — A U.S. district court judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit targeting a Florida law designed to protect women’s and girls’ sports from transgender ideology.
In a 39–page ruling, Trump-appointed U.S. District Court Judge Roy K. Altman ruled that Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which prohibits males from competing in female sports in public secondary schools and colleges, does not violate equal protection and due process rights and that the law does not violate Title IX, a 1972 federal law that seeks to prohibit sex-based discrimination in education.
He also wrote that the plaintiff, identified as D.N., a student at a Broward County, Florida, high school, failed to prove that the law was “motivated by discriminatory animus.” Altman maintained that D.N. could amend the lawsuit based on equal protection and Title IX concerns.
The dismissal was prompted by a request to dismiss the lawsuit from attorneys representing Florida Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr., and the State Board of Education.
“In our case, SB 1028’s gender-based classifications are rooted in real differences between the sexes — not stereotypes,” wrote Altman. “In requiring schools to designate sports-team memberships on the basis of biological sex, the statute adopts the uncontroversial proposition that most men and women do have different (and innate) physical attributes.”
He further wrote that the law was designed with the intent of promoting gender equality “through the preservation of athletic opportunities for girls.”
Reacting to the ruling, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer said, “States like Florida have an interest in protecting women and girls as men continue to take medals, podium spots, and other opportunities away from women in female sports.”
“Biological differences matter,” Kiefer continued. “As more women lose opportunities to men with natural physical advantages, lawmakers are acting to preserve equal opportunities and common sense. If men are allowed to compete in women’s sports, women will continue to face discrimination that Title IX prohibits.”
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was passed by the Florida legislature in April 2021 and was signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in June of that year. Also that June, attorneys from the radical pro-LGBT pressure group Human Rights Campaign and from New York City-based law firm Arnold & Porter filed the lawsuit on D.N.’s behalf. The suit alleged that the law would bar D.N. from playing sports, would “decimate [his] social network,” and contradicted Broward County Schools’ policy allowing gender-confused students to use locker rooms and play on sports team in alignment with their so-called “gender identity.”
The lawsuit was on hold until January, as the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard a challenge to a policy from another Florida school board, St. Johns County School Board, that mandated that gender-confused students use bathrooms in alignment with their sex. The court decided last December in favor of the board, prompting Altman to consider D.N.’s suit. The state filed to dismiss the suit in February, and ADF filed an amicus brief urging the court uphold the 2021 law on behalf of former track and field runner Selina Soule.
There have been numerous high-profile examples in recent years of men winning women’s competitions, and research affirms that physiology gives males distinct athletic advantages that cannot be negated by hormone suppression.
In a 2019 paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men [do] not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy;” therefore, “the advantage to [biological men] afforded by the [International Olympic Committee] guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”
As for the locker situation, critics note that forcing girls to share intimate facilities such as bathrooms, showers, and changing areas with members of the opposite sex violates their privacy rights, subjects them to needless emotional stress, and gives potential male predators a viable pretext to enter female bathrooms or lockers by simply claiming “transgender” status. In collegiate sports, that issue has been highlighted by University of Pennsylvania swimmer William “Lia” Thomas, against whom female swimmers have been pressured not to speak out.
Over 20 states have enacted laws prohibiting the participation of male students in women’s sports.