Federal judge: West Virginia can’t ban transgender girls from women’s sports teams

A Clinton-appointed federal judge just issued an injunction blocking a West Virginia law that banned transgender girls and women from competing on women’s sports teams.

According to the Washington Examiner, the Wednesday ruling came after an 11-year-old student Becky Pepper-Jackson sued the state over the law, claiming it was discriminatory.

“Scant evidence” of a problem

According to the order promulgated by District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, the law will be put on hold until Pepper-Jackson’s case has been decided.

“At this point, I have been provided with scant evidence that this law addresses any problem at all, let alone an important problem,” Goodwin was quoted as saying in his ruling.

He added that “forcing a girl to compete on the boys’ team when there is a girls’ team available would cause her unnecessary distress and stigma.”

ACLU calls ruling “a big win”

Goodwin’s ruling was welcomed by the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) West Virginia chapter, which is representing the student in court.

“A federal district judge just blocked the government from enforcing a cruel, unconstitutional law that would have prevented our client, Becky, from participating in school sports this year,” the group said in a tweet.

It went on to characterize the student as “an amazing kid who deserves the same opportunities as every girl her age” while calling the ruling “a big win.”

The issue elsewhere

The law in question was signed earlier this year by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R). According to its text, the measure prohibits “biological males from participating on athletic teams or sports designated for biological females where competitive skill or contact is involved.”

Supporters complain that male athletes have an unfair physiological advantage over female athletes. In April, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of Connecticut girls who claimed that the state’s policy on transgender athletes harmed their ability to compete, Fox News reported.

The Examiner noted that Goodwin’s decision came the same day that a federal judge blocked an Arkansas law banning doctors from performing gender reassignment surgery on minors.

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