Attorneys with America First Legal Foundation (AFL) filed a motion on behalf of Arizona Women of Action (AZWOA) to intervene in a lawsuit to protect Arizona’s “Save Women’s Sports Act,” which prohibits biological males from playing on girls’ sports teams at public schools.
AZWOA is joined in the motion by parents: Anna Van Hoek, Lisa Fink, and Amber Zenczak, who are mothers of daughters who have experienced concerns about biological boys in their sports.
AZWOA join Arizona’s legislative leaders, House Speaker Ben Toma and Senate President Warren Petersen, who filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit filed in April by two biological males: a pre-pubescent 11-year-old who wants to play girls’ soccer, basketball, and cross-country, and a 15-year-old volleyball player, who is on puberty-blockers and cross-sex hormones.
Toma and Petersen stepped up to defend the law when Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes refused to do so.
In 2022, S.B. 1165, the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” was passed to ensure young females are protected and provided with an even playing field in sports competition and athletic opportunities. On March 30, this bill was signed into law by former Governor Doug Ducey.
The law requires “any athletic team that is sponsored by a public or private school to be designated based on the biological sex of the student participants. It allows injunctive relief, damages and any other relief available under law for students or schools that suffer any direct or indirect harm due to a violation.”
“I’m shocked that our Attorney General is turning her back on the thousands of female athletes working hard to compete in school sports. AZWOA cares about the rights of every student, and we’re proud to stand behind girls who should not lose their chance to compete and win fair and square, based on their skill and hard work,” stated Kim Miller, Founder & Director of Arizona Women of Action, and mother of three daughters who played competitive sports, and one competing now at the collegiate level.
“The proposed intervenors have a strong protectable interest in defending Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act, A.R.S. § 15-120.02. They offer a critical and unique perspective as yet unrepresented in this action: that of Arizona parents and their student-athlete daughters who support the Save Women’s Sports Act,” argued AFL attorneys in the Motion.
“A case like this cannot be decided without having the most impacted parties represented. As our motion states, parents ‘offer a critical and unique perspective.’ Arizona’s girls deserve equal rights and fair competition and their parents deserve to be part of the debate,” stated Miller.
Earlier this month, AZWOA conducted an online survey of its email subscribers asking their opinions about the “Save Women’s Sports Act” and about the participation of biological males in girls’ sports. Out of the 272 respondents, 99.6% support Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act and 72% said they would consider removing their daughter from an all-girls’ sports team/league if a biological male participated. Some of the respondents commented:
“Biological males have an unfair advantage. Also, allowing biological males to compete as girls is discriminatory towards girls in terms of competition, scholarships, playing time, and enjoyment of sport.”
“It’s dangerous for the girls and unfair. it should not be allowed. My daughter got a cross country scholarship to college. It wouldn’t have happened if boys were also allowed in her sport.”
“I was in high school when Title 9 passed. This feels like a huge step backwards in what we gained.”
“Breaks my heart to think my daughter won’t be given the same opportunities I was as a biological female to compete and learn from sports with males being allowed to compete.”
AZWOA’s request to intervene in the lawsuit, Doe v Horne, comes after the Ninth District Circuit Court denied Superintendent Tom Horne’s emergency petition to have the lawsuit moved from Tucson to Phoenix.