Skip to content

Idaho athletes seek 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 – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing two female athletes have filed a motion in federal court to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the state’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. The lawsuit, which the American Civil Liberties Union filed on behalf of a male athlete, seeks to challenge Idaho’s newly enacted law, HB 500, and force female athletes to compete against biological males who identify as female.

ADF attorneys represent two collegiate athletes who run track and cross-country at Idaho State University in Pocatello. As ADF attorneys explain, the proposed intervenors 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. We’re grateful Gov. Little signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act into 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. “As long-time athletes, these young women deserve a voice in this lawsuit and the opportunity to protect the future of girls’ and women’s sports in Idaho.”

As the motion to intervene filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho in Hecox v. Little explains, “The inequity of male athletic participation in their competitions touches the female participants, and their own perspective and argument is a necessary feature when the issues in contest land so personally with them.… As intervenors, [the female athletes] would provide this Court with a perspective otherwise out of view, thereby aiding in the disposition of the case.”

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,” Idaho collegiate runner Madison Kenyon, one of the proposed intervenors, 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,” Mary Kate Marshall, a second Idaho collegiate runner and proposed intervenor, added. “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.


# # # | Ref. 73286