Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Florida’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act Filed

 

A motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act that bans transgender females from participating in high school athletics was filed in federal court on Monday.

The act, also known as SB 1028, was approved in April by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in June on the basis that it would ensure that biological males do not participate in female sports in order to keep spots open for biological females.

Monday’s motion for dismissal was filed by attorneys representing DeSantis, the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), Broward County’s School Board and Superintendent Robert Runchie, the State Board of Education, and the Florida Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, as the defendants in the case.

The lawsuit was filed on June 29th by attorneys from the Human Rights Campaign Fund and the national law firm Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer on behalf of the plaintiff – a transgender eighth-grade Broward County student identified as D.N. in court documents. The plaintiff contends her Title IX rights are being violated under the law.

D.N.’s attorneys state, “This statute [SB 1028], which is part of a wave of anti-transgender bills across the county, would stigmatize this teenager and separate her from her peers and teammates.” They add, “SB 1028, ironically titled the ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,’ has nothing to do with fairness or equality for girls or women in sports. By excluding transgender girls and women from girls’ sports teams and forcing them, if they want to play sports at all, to join a team that matches neither their gender identity nor their current physical status, the bill discriminates on the basis of sex and transgender status in violation of the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.”

In response, the motion to dismiss states, “D.N. inconsistently alleges that the challenged law discriminates solely on the basis of sex and also that it discriminates solely on the basis of transgender status. Whatever the theory, D.N. has not plausibly alleged that Title IX entitles a biological male to join a female athletic team merely because the biological male identifies and presents as female.” They add, “On the contrary, that result would exclude biological females from athletic participation and deny them the benefits of athletic competition, in direct violation of Title IX’s most fundamental tenets.”

In addition to asserting that the law violates Title IX, the plaintiff also argues that SB 1028 violates the Equal Protection Clause within the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, saying that it discriminates against the plaintiff based on sex and transgender status which denies her equal protection of the laws.

“The State and the Defendants have no legitimate, important or compelling state interest in regulating school sports in the manner at issue here based solely on gender assigned at birth. Florida’s purported state interest in athletic ‘fairness’ ignores basic medical science about transgender students, as well as the impact of hormone suppressants. It also fails to take into account individuals, such as plaintiff D.N., who begin such treatments at a young age,” the complaint states.

Again, responding to the accusations, the defendants’ attorneys argue, “D.N.’s complaint does not plausibly allege that the Legislature enacted the challenged law with a discriminatory purpose – that is, that there is ‘reason to infer antipathy’ against biological males who identify as female.” Furthermore, “D.N. points to no evidence that animus toward transgender students, rather than a desire to exclude from female competition all biological males – cisgender or transgender – motivated large majorities of the Legislature.”

The motion for dismissal will be heard by U.S. District Judge Roy Altman in Fort Lauderdale.

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Casey Owens is a contributing writer for The Florida Capital Star. Follow him on Twitter at @cowensreports. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Women’s Volleyball” by 12019.

 

 

 

 

 

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