Saying “it’s not even a close call,” a federal judge in Indiana has issued an injunction blocking Indiana’s new law protecting girls and women’s sports so that a 10-year-old boy can play on his school’s girls softball team.
U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson, a President Obama appointee, ruled that the federal law known as Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education, applies to males who believe they are females. In support, she cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bostock decision from 2020, a case dealing with Title VII, the federal employment law concerning sex discrimination.
Title IX, passed by Congress in 1972, was designed to correct the imbalance between the opportunities available for women as compared to men in education because of sex discrimination, especially in the field of athletics. Because of Title IX, women’s sports began receiving equal funding, and opportunities for women increased.
The state of Indiana defended its law by arguing that both Title IX and the Indiana statute simply require schools to provide equal opportunities for girls to compete against their own biological sex.
The judge didn’t buy it.
“The harm the State suggests could occur – that biological girls will be forced to compete against transgender girls who allegedly have an athletic advantage – is speculative, and there is no evidence in the record that allowing A.M. to play on the girls’ softball team will make this harm a reality,” Judge Magnus-Stinson wrote.
Curiously, though, the judge refused to consider the evidence of the harm to girls and women offered by the state, including expert testimony as well as a friend-of-the-court brief from female athletes harmed by being forced to compete against male athletes. The judge said such testimony “will not aid the Court and does not alter its analysis.”
But if the judge excluded evidence of the very real harm to girls and women, and then suggested there is only “speculation” about the harm, isn’t that being more than a little disingenuous?
The judge also relied on a 2017 transgender bathroom case decided by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals before Bostock that ruled Title IX requires schools to allow boys and girls to use bathrooms corresponding to their self-proclaimed “gender identity” rather than their biological sex. Indiana is part of the 7th Circuit.
But the bathroom case didn’t address the competitive disadvantage that females face, as a general rule, in athletics when competing against males because of inherent physiological differences between males and females. The differences are most stark when post-puberty males attempt to “transition” to female, as in the recent case of Lia Thomas, a male collegiate swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania who decided he was a female, and started competing with the women’s swim team.
Thomas “won” the NCAA 500-yard women’s freestyle championship in March, and later received a nomination from his college as the NCAA “Woman of the Year.”
And the judge’s reliance on Bostock is also questionable. The Bostock majority opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, specifically disclaimed any impact on any federal statute other than Title VII. Although the judge admitted as much, she still claimed that it guided her decision in Indiana’s case.
“[T]he Court acknowledges the Supreme Court’s caveat in Bostock that no ‘other federal or state laws that prohibit sex discrimination’ were before it,” the judge wrote. “But the Supreme Court also did not foreclose the application of its holding to the Title IX context, and the Court finds it appropriate to look to Bostock for guidance here.
“Did not foreclose?” Really? One wonders how it is even possible to be more specific than Justice Gorsuch was on the subject.
The Indiana federal court’s action in granting radical gender ideology a protected legal status is at odds with the purposes behind Title IX (which forms the basis for Indiana’s law protecting women’s sports). It does more than simply undermine the equal opportunities the law is supposed to provide for women; it cancels women entirely by declaring that men can be women.
At a deeper level, the cultural push to force society to act as though males can be females and vice versa goes directly contrary to Scripture, which teaches us that God made them male and female (See Genesis 1:27, 5:2; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6). Those biblical truths are more than biology lessons; they are also moral principles upon which much of our nation’s laws are based.
That’s why Christians should be advocating for laws like Indiana’s (and the 17 other states that have passed similar laws). By standing behind the states attempting to protect women, we’re not just standing up for biological reality but spiritual reality as well.
It is inevitable that the U.S. Supreme Court will have to address Title IX and state laws like Indiana’s and what they say about men and women’s sports in the nation’s schools. This case suggests that such a day may be right around the corner.
The case is A.M. v. Indianapolis Public Schools.
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