CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office on Friday defended West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act and its district court victory earlier this year in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
In January, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia upheld the law, ruling that the state legislature’s definition of “girl” and “woman” in the context of HB 3293, the Save Women’s Sports Act, is “constitutionally permissible” and that the law complies with Title IX.
Under HB 3293, all biological males, including those who identify as transgender girls, are prohibited from participating on girls’ sports teams. The same court had earlier instated a preliminary injunction but after reviewing the weighty record, reversed course and found the law permissible.
In August, an appeals court reinstated a preliminary injunction that allowed BPJ, a transgender student at Bridgeport Middle School who is challenging HB 3293, to continue participating on girls’ sports teams until it rules on her appeal.
“It’s important to keep safeguarding Title IX and protecting women’s sports so that females have a truly fair playing field,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The Act protects that fair playing field as well as safety for women and girls in West Virginia. We stand by the January decision that this law is constitutional.”
The Attorney General’s Office contends that the Act doesn’t mention transgender status. Instead, the marker is biological sex, which recognizes that there are distinct differences between males and females. Further, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of biological sex, not gender identity.
“The law is simple and correct and we will adamantly defend it,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “If we have to take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, then that is exactly what we’ll do.”