U.S. Appeals Court hears arguments on transgender athlete ban

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FILE- In this March 4, 2020, file photo, is the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Keith Ridler, File)

BOISE, Idaho (WLNS) – The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard virtual arguments today regarding Idaho’s ban on transgender athletes, a case that could have far-reaching effects.

Last year, Idaho became the first state to pass a law banning transgender women and girls from competing on women’s sports teams.

Since then, more than 20 other states have considered similar proposals. They have been enacted in five states: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and West Virginia. A bill has also passed Florida’s state legislature, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order to the same effect. A bill passed the Kansas legislature but was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly.

During Monday’s arguments, there were clues that the case could be ruled irrelevant since one of the plaintiffs, Lindsay Hecox, had dropped out of Boise State University. Hecox plans to return in the fall and try out for the women’s cross country team.

Roger Brooks, an attorney defending the Idaho law, says he hopes the court will not rule that the case is irrelevant. He says supporters of the law want a definitive ruling.

Supporters of the Idaho law say transgender female athletes have a physical advantage in sports, and allowing them to compete would undo decades of progress in establishing teams and leagues for women and girls.

Opponents of the law say it is discriminatory and, as written, would be an invasion of privacy due to testing required if an athlete’s gender is challenged.

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