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Arkansas Legislature passes bill to secure vital protections for girls’ and women’s sports

Tuesday, Mar 23, 2021

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb regarding the Arkansas Legislature’s passage Monday of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act (S.B. 354), a bill sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Sonia Barker that protects opportunities for women and girls in athletics by ensuring they are not forced to compete against men playing on women’s sports teams:

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities. For years, courageous female athletes have been in the arena, fighting for a fair and level playing field for female athletes. We thank Sen. Missy Irvin and Rep. Sonia Barker for leading this effort in Arkansas and commend the legislature for passing the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act so that those opportunities will be protected across the state and so female athletes have a legal recourse if their rights are violated.

“When athletic policies try to reinterpret federal law and ignore biological differences, women and girls bear the brunt of the harm. We have seen increasing examples of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions when competing as females, capturing championships, and shattering long-standing female track records. Comparably fit and trained males will always have physical advantages over females—that’s the reason we have girls’ sports. When we ignore science and biological reality, female athletes lose medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete. We thank Arkansas’ legislators for taking this problem seriously, and we urge Gov. Hutchinson to quickly sign this bill and help protect a rising generation of young women in Arkansas so they can continue to pursue their dreams.”

ADF attorneys represent collegiate female athletes in Idaho who are defending the state’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act against an ACLU lawsuit attacking the new law. ADF attorneys also represent high school female athletes in Connecticut who are challenging a policy that has allowed boys to consistently deprive them 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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ABOUT Christiana Holcomb

Christiana Holcomb serves as legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where she is a key member of the Center for Conscience Initiatives. Since joining ADF in 2012, Holcomb has worked to protect women's and girls' sports and has defended the bodily privacy rights of students. She has also worked to protect the constitutionally protected freedom of churches, Christian schools, and Christian ministries to exercise their faith without government interference. Holcomb earned her J.D. in 2010 from Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy, where she graduated first in her class and served as a teaching assistant in criminal law. Also in 2010, Holcomb completed the ADF leadership development program to become a Blackstone Fellow. She is admitted to the state bar of California, the U.S. Supreme Court, and numerous federal district and appellate courts.