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Effort to protect women's sports in WV unaffected by US Supreme Court ruling on injunction

Lainey Armistead sitting with soccer ball

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Thursday to leave in place for now a federal appeals court’s temporary injunction that prevents West Virginia from enforcing its validly enacted law protecting women’s sports while the case continues in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit:

“Today’s decision didn’t end this case. While we hoped the Supreme Court would lift the injunction that the 4th Circuit imposed—with no explanation—on West Virginia’s women’s sports law, we remain committed to protecting female athletes by continuing to litigate this case in the court of appeals, and across the country through other lawsuits defending women’s sports. Every woman deserves the respect and dignity that comes with having an equal opportunity to excel and win in athletics. Sports underscore the inherent biological differences between the sexes. When society and the law try to ignore reality, people get hurt. In sports, it’s women and girls who pay the price. Thankfully, a growing number of states are stepping up to protect women’s athletics. Right now, 20 states have enacted laws that protect women and girls from having to compete against males, and polls show that a majority of Americans agree that the competition is no longer fair when males are permitted to compete in women’s sports.”

In the case, B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education, ADF attorneys represent Lainey Armistead, a former West Virginia State University soccer player who intervened in the lawsuit to defend the state’s law, which was enacted to ensure equal athletic opportunities for women.

In January, a federal district court upheld West Virginia’s law, but then the plaintiff, a male athlete, asked the 4th Circuit to halt enforcement of the law during the appeal so the athlete could try out for a girls’ track team in the spring. Days later, the 4th Circuit granted the request without providing any legal or factual basis for its decision—only stating that the injunction was granted. Attorneys with ADF and the West Virginia attorney general’s office then filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to vacate the 4th Circuit’s decision and allow West Virginia’s law to take full effect. While the Supreme Court declined to do so, it did not rule on the merits of the case, which continues in the court of appeals.

  • Pronunciation guide: Kiefer (KEE’-fer)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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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.