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Legislative Leaders File Emergency Motion In Federal Court To Defend Save Women’s Sports Act

August 3, 2023

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s Republican Legislative leaders are continuing to defend the integrity of women’s sports in federal court.

On Tuesday, Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after a federal district judge blocked the ‘Save Women’s Sports Act’ from going into effect.

In their motion, the legislators wrote, “Under the district court’s preliminary injunction order, ‘the [Save Women’s Sports] Act shall not prevent Plaintiffs from participating in girls’ sports’ and ‘Plaintiffs shall be allowed to play girls’ sports at their respective schools.’ Any success by Plaintiffs in try-outs and meets will displace biological girls from making a team, getting playing time, and succeeding in final results. Biological girls will be irreparably harmed if they are displaced by, forced to compete against, or risk injury from Plaintiffs.”

Petersen released the following statement to accompany the announcement of his latest action in court over this issue: “Not only science, but common sense clearly supports the fact that in general, boys are bigger and stronger than girls at all stages of life. Expecting them to compete against each other in athletic competition is reckless, irresponsible and will subject girls to increased risk for injury. 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. 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. I’m confident our judicial system will agree with the protections we’re fighting for so that all young women and girls in Arizona will have the opportunity to compete on an even playing field.”

Speaker Ben Toma issued a short comment on Twitter, posting, “We filed an emergency motion asking the 9th Circuit to allow Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act to remain in effect pending appeal & the Court set an expedited schedule. The district court’s ruling is wrong; it has harmful, real-world consequences for female athletes.”

Last month, Judge Jennifer Zipps granted a preliminary injunction against SB 1165, the Save Women’s Sports Act, which blocked the law from going into effect. Arizona’s Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, the defendant in the case, promised to appeal the ruling, saying, “This will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court, and they will rule in our favor. The Plaintiffs in this case claimed that this only involves pre-pubescent boys, but we presented peer-reviewed studies that show pre-pubescent boys have an advantage over girls in sports. The only expert presented by the Plaintiffs was a medical doctor who makes his money doing sex transition treatments on children and who has exactly zero peer-reviewed studies to support his opinion.”

One of the representatives of the plaintiffs, Justin R. Rassi from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, lauded the judge’s ruling, writing, “The Court’s well-reasoned decision exposes the lack of any legitimate justification for this discriminatory law, which inflicts severe and irreparable harm on transgender girls like Megan and Jane. We are very happy that, as a result of this ruling, Jane and Megan will be immediately able to resume playing sports with their friends.”

The latest Motion from Petersen and Toma follows a series of actions they have taken in this legal matter occurring in federal court. Earlier this year, they filed a Motion to Intervene, highlighting that because “Attorney General Kris Mayes is not defending the constitutionality of the law,” they were taking this step. Petersen said at the time, “We’re looking forward to fighting for the rights of female athletes across Arizona, as well as for the Court making it clear Arizona’s law protecting women and girls should be enforced.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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