A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction in Idaho to stop the state from enacting a law that would ban trans girls and women from participating in sports while a separate legal decision is made in court.
On Monday, Idaho Chief U.S. District Court Judge David C. Nye blocked Idaho’s anti-trans sports bill (House Bill 500) with a preliminary injunction, meaning the law will be held until a court decides whether the bill is constitutional or not.
In the ruling, Nye notes that opponents of the bill “are likely to succeed in establishing the act is unconstitutional as currently written,” as it currently stands in “stark contrast to the policies of elite athletic bodies that regulate sports both nationally and globally” and “burdens all female athletes with the risk and embarrassment of having to ‘verify’ their ‘biological sex’ in order to play women’s sports.”
“In making this determination, it is not just the constitutional rights of transgender girls and women athletes at issue but, as explained above, the constitutional rights of every girl and woman athlete in Idaho,” Nye wrote in the injunction.
HB 500, sometimes referred to as the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, is one of two anti-trans laws that were enacted by Governor Brad Little of Idaho at the end of March. After the law’s signing, the ACLU of Idaho brought a lawsuit against Little on behalf of 19-year-old Lindsay Hecox, a transgender student athlete at Boise State University who had been planning to try out for the cross country team, and an anonymous cis senior from Boise High School who was worried about being subjected (and others facing) invasive “sex verification” testing.
“I love running, and part of what I enjoy about the sport is building relationships with a team,” Hecox said in a statement issued by the ACLU after the law was blocked. “I’m a girl, and the right team for me is the girls’ team. It’s time courts recognize that, and I am so glad that the court’s ruling does.”
The ACLU calls HB 500 “the first outright ban on participation of transgender athletes anywhere in the world,” which means that a positive outcome of Hecox v. Little would make it a historic civil rights case for the transgender community.