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Court allows WVSU soccer player to protect women's sports

ADF attorneys represent female athlete who will help defend WV’s Save Women’s Sports Act

Thursday, Dec 2, 2021

CHARLESTON, W.V. – A federal district court issued an order Wednesday that allows a West Virginia State University female athlete represented by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys to intervene to defend the state’s Save Women’s Sports Act, HB 3293. The law is currently under challenge in a lawsuit that would undermine women’s sports by allowing males who identify as female to compete with females in girls’ and women’s sports.

West Virginia enacted the law to ensure equal opportunities for women in sports. One of those women is female athlete Lainey Armistead, a soccer player at WVSU.

“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports destroys fair competition, safety on the field, and women’s athletic opportunities,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “When our laws and policies ignore biological reality, girls and women get hurt. In athletics, this harm may be physical, but they are also losing medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete. Athletes train for years and expect a fair and reasonably safe playing field. Allowing males to compete on the girls’ team changes that environment from one that fosters competition and comradery to one that endangers women.”

“West Virginia’s Save Women’s Sports Act protects women, ensuring they have the opportunity to compete, win, and receive the benefits of their success,” Holcomb continued. “We now look forward to joining with Lainey to defend her interests—and the interests of all West Virginia female athletes—in this case.”

“Ms. Armistead plans to defend H.B. 3293 as a member of the class of people for whom the law was written,” the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia wrote in its order in B.P.J. v. West Virginia State Board of Education. “She will add a perspective not represented by any of the current defendants.”

“I believe that protecting fairness in women’s sports is a women’s rights issue,” said Armistead. “This isn’t just about fair play for me: It’s about protecting fairness and safety for female athletes across West Virginia. It’s about ensuring that future generations of female athletes are not discriminated against but have access to the same equal athletic opportunities that shaped my life. Being an athlete in college has made me even more passionate about the sport that I play. I want fairness, equality, and safety in sports. And I want to ensure those standards are protected for other girls, too.”

ADF attorneys also represent collegiate female athletes in Idaho who are defending that state’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act against an ACLU lawsuit attacking the new law. In addition, ADF attorneys 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. One of those athletes is now attending a Florida public university and is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit in that state to defend its Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.

Timothy D. Ducar, one of more than 3,500 attorneys allied with ADF, is co-counsel for Armistead in the case. Brandon Steele is serving as local counsel.

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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