Utah Judge Chooses To Refrain From Dismissing Lawsuit Against State That Blocks Transgender Athletes From Girls' Sports


One judge out of Utah has made the choice to side with a group of three transgender athletes and their families by refusing to throw out their lawsuit which challenges the recent law in the state, which was pushed through in March, that saw to the banning of all biological males from taking parting in all girls' sports.

The lawsuit made the claim that House Bill 11, which was successfully passed by the legislators of Utah, then vetoed by Utah Governor Spencer Cox before it went back to the legislature who overrode his veto, went entirely against the Utah state constitution.

When the lawsuit was first filed, the original sponsor for House Bill 11, Republican State Representative Kera Birkeland, issued a response, "The lawsuit filed today is not surprising, as such actions have been threatened since the beginning. My goal has always been to protect girls sports and female athletes across the state, and I hope the courts will recognize that and uphold the legislation."

Former Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee, who is the brother of Utah GOP Senator Mike Lee, had stated as he represented the state, "Plaintiffs are not in a position to allege any particularized harm arising from the application of HB11 to them, or to identify any particularized manner in which the law is alleged to infringe their constitutional rights."

Lee issued an argument:

Transgender girls are not “outright ban[ned]”… from competing in high school sports. They can fully compete in the sports that match their biological sex or participate with a girls team in everything but games or competitions. And the differing treatment of biological girls and transgender girls is “rooted in inherent differences between the sexes.”

Biological girls were not born boys. Transgender girls were. And even if transgender girls have undergone puberty blocking or hormone therapy, they still maintain and develop biological differences that are an advantage on the playing field. Try as one might, human beings cannot entirely shake their biology.

On Wednesday, however, Keith Kelly, a Judge in the Third District, kicked back the motion from the state's legal team to dismiss the lawsuit, making the argument that the claims from the transgender girls "do provide evidence of their individual and palpable injury."

House Bill 11 "imposes limits on participation in female sports by requiring schools and local education agencies to designate athletic activities by sex, (by) prohibiting a student of the male sex from competing against another school on a team designated for female students, (by) prohibiting certain complaints or investigations based on a school or local education agency maintaining separate athletic activities for female students."

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