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US Education Dept Rules CT Transgender Athletes Policy Is Illegal

05-29-2020
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ABOVE: Alliance Defending Freedom Attorney Christiana Holcomb appeared on the Friday afternoon edition of CBN's Newswatch to discuss the recent ruling from the US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights that says the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference policy violates Title IX. Newswatch is seen weekdays on the CBN News Channel. For a programming schedule, click here

A Connecticut policy allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls' sports is illegal.

That ruling comes from the US Education Department's Office for Civil Rights. The office says the policy violates Title IX and may now result in federal funds being withheld if the state does not bring the policy into alignment with Title IX by June 4. 

It has "denied female student-athletes athletic benefits and opportunities, including advancing to the finals in events, higher-level competitions, awards, medals, recognition, and the possibility of greater visibility to colleges and other benefits," according to the Office for Civil Rights' 45-page letter, which is dated May 15.

As CBN News has reported, three girl track athletes filed a complaint with the Education Department, and a federal lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference over their rule that forces them to run against transgender athletes, biological boys who say they're girls. The female track athletes argued that two biologically male transgender runners had an unfair physical advantage.

The state athletic conference says its policy complies with a state law barring schools from discriminating against transgender students.

"Connecticut law is clear and students who identify as female are to be recognized as female for all purposes — including high school sports," the athletic conference said in a statement. "To do otherwise would not only be discriminatory but would deprive high school students of the meaningful opportunity to participate in educational activities, including interscholastic sports, based on sex-stereotyping and prejudice sought to be prevented by Title IX and Connecticut state law."

The federal decision carries implications beyond Connecticut, said Roger Brooks, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the girls, and filed both the complaint and the lawsuit. 

"Around the nation, districts are going to want to be reading this, because it does have legal implications," he said. "It is a first decision from the agency charged with enforcing Title IX addressing the question of whether males on the playing field or on the track are depriving girls of opportunities consistent with Title IX."

The office said it will "either initiate administrative proceedings to suspend, terminate or refuse to grant or continue and defer financial assistance" to the conference and those districts or refer the cases to the US Department of Justice.

Meanwhile, the girls' federal lawsuit continues. As CBN News reported earlier this month, the judge presiding over the case,  US District Judge Robert N. Chatigny, shot down the girls' lawyers telling them not to refer to their biological male competitors as males. He called the words "provocative" and "bullying."  

"Considering them females is consistent with science, common practice and perhaps human decency," he claimed.

ADF attorneys argue that according to Chatigny's order, he has "prejudged matters" and they are demanding that the judge should be taken off the case. They filed a motion to have the judge disqualified, writing, his order is "unjustified and inconsistent with the appearance of impartiality."

"Plaintiffs' counsel have the right and professional responsibility to communicate clearly and accurately about their case and to present their arguments in a manner consistent with their legal theories and the dispositive facts," the ADF attorneys wrote in their motion to disqualify Chatigny.

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