Arizona GOP legislative leaders file emergency motion to uphold transgender athlete ban law

Aug 2, 2023, 2:00 PM


Basketball entering goal. (Pexels)


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.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone...

Brandon Gray

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announces he will not pursue 3rd term

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone announced Monday he is not pursuing a third term and will be departing the office in January 2024.

46 minutes ago

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Lottery)...

Fantasy 5 jackpot ticket sold in Phoenix as Powerball prize exceeds $1B

It didn't take long for another Fantasy 5 jackpot to hit in Phoenix and lottery players could hit it big with the Powerball drawing on Monday night.

1 hour ago

Joe Perry, left, and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith perform Sept. 2, 2023, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

Kevin Stone

Aerosmith postpones Phoenix concert because of Steven Tyler’s vocal cord injury

First the Boss, now Steven Tyler. Add Aerosmith to the list of classic rockers forced to postpone their Phoenix concerts because of health issues.

2 hours ago

gavel hitting wood...

Scottsdale man sentenced to prison for not paying employee taxes

A Scottsdale man was sentenced last week to over a year in prison for failing to pay the Internal Revenue Service federal income taxes that were withheld from employees.

3 hours ago

Guns N' Roses might have to reschedule their show at Chase Field in Phoenix if the Arizona Diamondb...

Kevin Stone

Phoenix Guns N’ Roses fans might need ‘Patience’ if Diamondbacks win Wild Card playoff series

Guns N’ Roses fans in Phoenix might need a little "Patience" if the Arizona Diamondbacks advance in the playoffs.

4 hours ago


KTAR Video

Video: U.S. government avoids shutdown, but drama continues among Republican members of Congress

The threat of a federal government shutdown was avoided late Saturday, hours before a midnight deadline, but one Republican Arizona congressman calls out his own party, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy. KTAR News host Mike Broomhead explains. Video: Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.

Home moving relocation in Arizona 2023...

BMS Moving

Tips for making your move in Arizona easier

If you're moving to a new home in Arizona, use this to-do list to alleviate some stress and ensure a smoother transition to your new home.


Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

Arizona GOP legislative leaders file emergency motion to uphold transgender athlete ban law