Arizona schools chief Horne calls transgender sports ruling ‘wrong,’ says he will appeal
Jul 21, 2023, 11:13 AM
PHOENIX — Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said Friday he plans to appeal a court ruling a day earlier that temporarily blocked a law banning transgender girls from playing on girls’ school sports teams.
“I think the decision is clearly wrong,” Horne told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show. “I’m pledged to appeal it. It’s a big national issue, so I believe the Supreme Court will take it and I have absolutely no doubt that the Supreme Court would rule in our favor.”
A judge in Tucson granted a preliminary injunction on Thursday to allow processing of a lawsuit filed on behalf of two transgender girls against the state’s “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature last year.
The lawsuit argues the law violates federal Title IX, the law barring sex discrimination in schools receiving federal funds, and the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Arizona plaintiffs include a 15-year-old volleyball player and an 11-year-old who wants to play girls’ soccer, basketball and cross-country.
In issuing the preliminary injunction, Judge Jennifer G. Zipps said there was no evidence that allowing the children, who have been prescribed puberty blockers for gender dysphoria, on girls’ teams would have an athletic advantage or prove a safety risk to other players.
Horne said the issue is fairness for girls who were assigned female at birth.
“They worked hard to excel in their sports to make the varsity team or maybe get a college scholarship or maybe even go to the Olympics and then they come up against a biological boy and they have no chance and they’re devastated,” Horne said.
“Their dreams are shattered and it’s cosmically unfair, so I’m fighting this as a matter of fairness.”
LGBTQ+ rights advocates say bills like the one passed in Arizona and hundreds more across the U.S. are anti-transgender attacks disguised as protections for children and that they use transgender people as political pawns to galvanize GOP voters ahead of an election year.
Courts have blocked some measures in several states, including last week in Wisconsin.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.