Arizona GOP legislative leaders file emergency motion to uphold transgender athlete ban law
Aug 2, 2023, 2:00 PM
PHOENIX — Arizona Republican legislative leaders filed an emergency motion Wednesday to stop a U.S. District Court injunction that temporarily blocked the state from enforcing a law banning transgender girls from playing on girls’ school sports teams.
The injunction on the law, “Save Women’s Sports Act,” was issued in July. The presiding judge said there was no evidence that children who have been prescribed puberty blockers would have an athletic advantage or prove a safety risk to other players on girls’ teams.
The law was passed in 2022 by the Legislature. It states athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls may not be open to transgender girls. It also applies to higher education institutions, public schools and private schools that compete against a public school.
LGBTQ+ community advocates have expressed laws like this are life-threatening and harm transgender youth.
In April, the parents of two transgender girls filed a lawsuit challenging the Arizona law. The plaintiffs included a 15-year-old volleyball player and an 11-year-old who wanted to play girls’ soccer basketball and cross country.
They argued that the law violates Title IX, which protects people from being excluded from participating, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any education program due to sex.
Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, disqualified herself from defending the law. Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction has been defending it, with support from GOP leaders in the Legislature.
Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma filed Wednesday’s motion to stop the federal injunction, arguing that Title IX was not violated because the state law authorizes the separation of sports teams based on biological sex.
“It’s unfortunate young girls in our public schools will face these heightened dangers while participating in sports competition against boys and lose out on athletic opportunities because this law is on hold,” Petersen said in a statement.
“What’s even more disheartening is our Attorney General has no desire to protect our female athletes, prompting myself and Speaker Toma to do her job for her.”
In an interview, Wednesday with KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show Petersen said the goal is to take the case to the Supreme Court and that it will be a “slam dunk.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.