November 30, 2021

Anti-Transgender Athlete Ban Enjoined by Federal Court

Idaho – A federal court has granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of House Bill 500, the transgender athlete ban passed by a Republican supermajority during the 2020 session and signed into law by Governor Little. In doing so, the court found that the plaintiffs challenging the law “are likely to succeed in establishing the Act is unconstitutional.” The law would have required girls to prove their gender to participate in sports by undergoing a genital exam, receiving a DNA test, or having their testosterone levels tested.

During the legislative session, Democratic legislators fought the legislation every step of the way. House Minority Leader Representative Ilana Rubel/(D-Boise) requested the Attorney General opinion that articulated the reasons the bill would likely be found unconstitutional.

“Attorneys General (past and present), Democratic legislators, Idaho citizens and leaders of Idaho’s business community fought House Bill 500 from the beginning.” Rep. Rubel explained. “We knew it was unconstitutional, discriminatory, and would cost taxpayers a fortune in unsuccessful court battles. Moreover, it was totally unnecessary. There are well-thought-out rules developed by the organizations overseeing competitive sports that address transgender athletes. These rules have worked well for many years to keep competition fair, and there had never been a single instance identified in Idaho history where there was a problem arising from transgender athletes. Republican legislators created a crisis out of whole cloth, and now, even a conservative, Trump-appointed judge has concluded the law is likely unconstitutional.”

“The defense costs arising from HB500 are already substantial and continuing to mount. And yet we are told that the state is so cash-strapped it has no choice but to cut $99 million from our education budget and deny teachers the pay they were promised. It is long past time for the GOP supermajority to reset its priorities. They knew when they passed this bill that a pandemic and economic downturn were upon us. Now more than ever tax dollars should be used to meet the needs of our citizens, not to finance costly court battles over clearly unconstitutional and totally unnecessary legislation.”