Federal judge puts Arizona’s transgender sports ban on hold

Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 3:01 PM MST|Updated: Jul. 20, 2023 at 4:21 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - A federal judge on Thursday, July 20, granted a preliminary injunction for an Arizona law that bans transgender athletes from competing in school sports.

Two transgender girls filed a lawsuit against Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne in April over the Save Women’s Sports Act, which went into effect last year.

Following the judge’s ruling, both girls will be able to play for their schools. Plaintiff Jane Doe is an 11-year-old transgender girl who will attend Kyrene Aprende Middle School and Plaintiff Megan Doe is a 15-year-old transgender girl who will attend The Gregory School.

“The court’s findings of fact support Plaintiffs’ assertions that very serious damages will result from a change in the status quo, and as a matter of law and fact, this is not a doubtful case,” the judge wrote.

The judge’s full ruling can be found at the bottom of this story.

In a federal courtroom in Tucson on July 10, arguments were heard in the suit.

The plaintiffs asked for a preliminary injunction, arguing the ban has the potential to cause irreparable harm to athletes. On July 20, the judge granted that preliminary injunction.

Both are on puberty-blocking medications and want to play soccer and volleyball in their respective schools.

Their attorneys claimed they don’t have an athletic advantage, but the defendants, including Horne, disagreed.

“It is cosmically unfair to expect girls to have to compete against males in sports,” Horne told 13 News after the hearing. “The females should be able to compete against each other, and that way they have a chance to excel, and get college scholarships and maybe go to the Olympics and do whatever they want to do.

“But once you put males in there, they are devastated. They don’t have a chance to do that and I think that’s totally unfair.”

13 News tried to reach out to the plaintiffs but wasn’t able to catch them after the hearing.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, the lone defendant in the lawsuit challenging Arizona’s law prohibiting biological boys from competing on girls’ interscholastic sports teams, issued the following statement in response to today’s preliminary injunction ruling by a federal judge.

Horne stated, “We will appeal this ruling. This will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court, and they will rule in our favor.

The Plaintiffs in this case claimed that this only involves pre-pubescent boys, but we presented peer-reviewed studies that show pre-pubescent boys have an advantage over girls in sports.

The only expert presented by the Plaintiffs was a medical doctor who makes his money doing sex transition treatments on children and who has exactly zero peer-reviewed studies to support his opinion.”

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