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This Court Ruling Denies Biological Reality and Ignores Idaho Voters… So We’re Appealing

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
September 18, 2020

Earlier this year, Idaho passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act

This law shouldn’t be controversial. It simply ensures a level playing field for female athletes by reserving girls’ and women’s sports for, well, girls and women. 

Not to mention that it was enacted by Idaho voters through their elected officials. As Idaho Representative Barbara Ehardt, the sponsor of the legislation, said: “People overwhelmingly agree that the Fairness for Women in Sports Act is common sense—boys should not be competing against girls. Many have expressed how sad it is that this even needs to be clarified.”

And Idaho voters are not outliers. According to a recent poll, nearly 75 percent of Americans agree that allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports is unfair.

Still, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, and in August a federal district court halted enforcement of the law while the case continues. That means girls and women in Idaho will be forced to compete against male athletes while this case makes its way through the legal system. 

That’s not acceptable to Idaho State University athletes Madison Kenyon and Mary Kate Marshall, who have intervened in this lawsuit to defend the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. So ADF, who is representing these two college athletes, has appealed this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. 

Madi and Mary Kate have seen firsthand what it means to allow male athletes to compete on teams designated for girls and women. 

At the NCAA Division I Big Sky Conference Championships in track and field earlier this year, a male athlete who identifies as female dominated the women’s mile. Madi and Mary Kate watched as one of their teammates was bumped off her rightful place on the podium and into fourth place in that event. 

“Allowing males to enter our sports isn’t fair,” Madi said. “It changes everything because it eliminates the connection between an athlete’s effort and her success. Idaho’s law helps make sure that, when women like me work hard, that hard work pays off, and we have a shot at winning.” 

The reality is that men and women are different—and those differences matter. 

Science and common sense tell us that males are generally bigger, faster, and stronger than females. They have larger hearts and lungs, denser bones, and stronger muscles. So it’s really no surprise that male athletes consistently achieve performances 10 to 20 percent better than comparably fit and trained female athletes.

The bottom line is that our policies and laws need to be based on real science and the facts, not beliefs about gender. That’s the only way to ensure a level playing field for female athletes.

Madi and Mary Kate know that. Idaho voters know that.  

And their voices should not be ignored. 

Make your voice heard on this issue! If you support protecting female athletes from being forced to compete against biological males, you can add your name to this petition asking the Trump Administration and Members of Congress to safeguard the athletic and academic futures of young women across the country.


Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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