Arizona Speaker of the House Ben Toma announced on Friday that the Legislature intends to appeal a federal judge ruling that is temporarily blocking the enforcement of the “Save Women’s Sports Act.” The Act protects girls from playing on teams with biological boys who identify as trans.
“The Legislature intervened in Doe v Horne to defend Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act. Today we filed a notice of appeal from the court’s misguided ruling and will continue to defend this common-sense law,” tweeted Toma.
The Legislature intervened in Doe v Horne to defend Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act. Today we filed a notice of appeal from the court’s misguided ruling and will continue to defend this common-sense law. pic.twitter.com/Rsy0DFA17P
— Ben Toma (@RepBenToma) July 21, 2023
On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Jennifer Zipps blocked the Save Women’s Sports Act from being enforced. The judge’s ruling lifts the protections the Act provided biological girls involved in sports.
The judge, who was nominated by Barack Obama, found that transgender girls (those who are born biological boys) who haven’t undergone normal male puberty due to the use of drugs, do not have a physical or physiological advantage over biological girls. As a result, the judge ruled transgendered girls should be allowed to play on girls’ teams.
In May, Toma and Senate President Warren Petersen 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 Arizona law because Arizona’s Attorney General Kris Mayes refused to do so.
“Like it or not, it is Attorney General Mayes’ job to defend state law the Legislature passes. Because she won’t do her job, I feel an obligation as House Speaker, and as a father of five daughters, to intervene in this case and stand up for women and girls who should not be forced to compete in sports with biological males, who have obvious and unfair physiological advantages that cannot be overlooked,” said Toma in May.
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.”
Attorneys with America First Legal Foundation (AFL) on behalf of Arizona Women of Action and three mothers; Anna Van Hoek, Lisa Fink, and Amber Zenczak, joined Toma and Petersen in filing a motion to intervene in the lawsuit.
Arizona Women of Action also vowed to stay in the fight:
“The US District Judge Jennifer Zipps ruled, “As a matter of fact and law” (but against common human understanding and empirical reality) that biological girls have no right or justification to want their own sports teams, and that the people of Arizona have no legal authority to exclude biological boys from our daughters’ teams. Every child deserves respect and compassion. But Judge Zipps doesn’t agree. She disregarded the very purpose of Title IX – to ensure that never again would women be deprived of a right to their own athletic opportunities,” stated the group on Thursday.
“Title IX was enacted to protect girls. To give them equal rights to fair competition, safety, and future opportunities. Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act was enacted to solidify the intent of Title IX—to protect biological girls. Sadly, the judge ruled NOT to protect girls OR Arizona / US law.
“Arizona Women of Action will keep fighting for girls to the fullest extent of the law.
📢 Official Statement from AZ Women of Action on the US District Court Judge's order regarding Horne vs Doe:
The US District Judge Jennifer Zipps ruled, “As a matter of fact and law” (but against common human understanding and empirical reality) that biological girls have no… pic.twitter.com/j1NbUqsDTK
— Arizona Women of Action (@azwomenofaction) July 21, 2023