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Court allows Idaho athletes to intervene in defense of Fairness in Women’s Sports Act

ADF attorneys represent two female athletes who support law, oppose ACLU lawsuit that seeks to deny opportunities to women, girls
Related Case:
Madison Kenyon running

BOISE, Idaho – A federal district court Monday granted the motion of two female athletes to intervene in defense of Idaho’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which the American Civil Liberties Union is challenging in court. The lawsuit seeks to dismantle Idaho’s newly enacted law and force female athletes to compete against males who identify as female.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent the two collegiate athletes, who run track and cross-country at Idaho State University in Pocatello. The two women, Madison Kenyon and Mary Kate Marshall, are long-time athletes, well familiar with the difference in strength and speed between comparably gifted and trained male and female athletes.

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports diminishes women’s athletic opportunities and destroys fair competition,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “While it’s true that athletics is about more than winning, giving girls and women extra lessons in losing isn’t right. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is good law because it seeks to protect girls and women across Idaho. Our clients have already experienced the deflating experience of losing to a male runner, and this should not be allowed to continue.”

“Both of our clients agree: Putting male athletes up against females is simply not fair because it changes the nature and dynamics of sport for young women,” Holcomb continued. “In one year, 275 high school boys ran faster times than the lifetime best of World Champion sprinter Allyson Felix. As long-time athletes, these young women deserve and will now have a voice in this lawsuit and the opportunity to protect the future of girls’ and women’s sports in Idaho.”

In its order granting the motion to intervene in Hecox v. Little, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho also temporarily halted enforcement of Idaho’s law while the lawsuit against it moves forward.

“I believe that allowing males to enter women’s sports defeats an entire aspect of sports: It eliminates the connection between an athlete’s effort and her success,” Kenyon said. “Sex separation in sports helps ensure that males and females each enjoy opportunities for fair competition and victory. It helps ensure that, if women like me work hard, that hard work pays off, and we have a shot at winning.”

“I want to preserve the camaraderie and sisterhood that comes from competing with and against females only,” added Marshall. “I want other young women to benefit from sports as I did.”

ADF attorneys also represent four female athletes in a federal lawsuit in Connecticut, where a policy that allows males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletic events has consistently deprived the four girls of honors and opportunities to compete at elite levels.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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Christiana Kiefer
Christiana Kiefer
Senior Counsel
Christiana (Holcomb) Kiefer serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives.