Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: DFI Stands with West Virginia in Legal Battle Over ‘Save Women’s Sports’ Bill

WASHINGTON—The Defense of Freedom Institute for Policy Studies (DFI) joined the state of West Virginia in its legal battle to protect athletic opportunities for women and girls.

In an amicus brief filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education, DFI argues that West Virginia’s “Save Women’s Sports” bill is constitutional as it does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“Female athletes deserve the opportunity to compete on a level playing field,” said DFI President and Co-founder Bob Eitel. “West Virginia did not base its ‘Save Women’s Sports’ bill on archaic stereotypes about differences between the sexes or bigotry. The law is a reasonable measure that recognizes that men and women are biologically different. West Virginia is right on this issue, and we are proud to join them in this fight to protect women’s and girls’ sports.” 

The “Save Women’s Sports” bill requires that students participate on public school sports teams based on their biological sex, not gender identity.  The bill, which was signed into law in April of 2021, was immediately challenged by an athlete who wanted to compete on a female-only track and field team in accordance with the student’s chosen gender identity, not biological sex. Although a federal district court upheld the law, on appeal the Fourth Circuit enjoined the bill while the court deliberates on the case.  

DFI’s Fourth Circuit brief in support of the bill states, “In drawing lines, a legislature must consider the rights of all its citizens. The Act reflects legitimate concerns of biological females and their parents, and was not driven by bigotry towards transgender students. The legislative determination that in athletic competition, biology is a more relevant criterion than gender identity was well-founded and not based on, for example, archaic stereotypes about differences between the sexes. Ensuring that laws enacted by state legislatures provide equal protection does not justify a federal court substituting its policy judgments. Judicial deference to legislative line drawing is especially warranted in a complex societal issue of only recent concern, where line drawing is particularly fraught with uncertainty.”

To read the brief in full, click here.

DFI’s policy and legal teams have a strong record of protecting women’s and girls’ sports and defending Title IX. To learn more, click here.