Attorney General William Barr on Friday filed a statement of interest defending Idaho’s law that bans transgender female athletes from competing in women’s sports.
In the statement, Barr referred to trans women as “biological males” and says that allowing them to compete in women’s sports leagues is “fundamentally unfair to female athletes.”
In March, Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) approved legislation to prohibit sex changes on birth certificates and ban trans girls and women from competing in women’s sports leagues. Civil rights groups responded by filing a federal lawsuit challenging the law.
Barr wrote that under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, Idaho is allowed “to recognize the physiological differences between the biological sexes in athletics.”
“Because of these differences, the Fairness Act’s limiting of certain athletic teams to biological females provides equal protection,” he wrote. “This limitation is based on the same exact interest that allows the creation of sex-specific athletic teams in the first place — namely, the goal of ensuring that biological females have equal athletic opportunities. Single-sex athletics is rooted in the reality of biological differences between the sexes and should stay rooted in objective biological fact.”
The ban applies to all teams associated with or sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities and cites “different athletic capabilities” between men and women.
The ban is set to be enacted on July 1.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has argued that the state law is unconstitutional, citing violations of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and the Fourth Amendment’s protections against invasions of privacy.
The ACLU also argues that the law opens the door for any women to be probed about their gender, potentially in the form invasive genital and genetic screenings.