Southern District of West Virginia Judge Joseph R. Goodwin, an appointee of former President Bill Clinton, highlighted the “average physical differences between the sexes” in his decision.
“While some females may be able to outperform some males, it is generally accepted that, on average, males outperform females athletically because of inherent physical differences between the sexes,” Goodwin wrote. “This is not an overbroad generalization, but rather a general principle that realistically reflects the average physical differences between the sexes.”
“I do not see how I could find that the state’s classification based on biological sex is not substantially related to its interest in providing equal athletic opportunities for females,” the judge added.
Goodwin also claimed H.B. 3293, dubbed the Save Women’s Sports Act, was “aimed to politicize participation in school athletics for transgender students,” while ultimately deciding to uphold the law.
The decision comes after President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office calling on schools to allow transgender athletes to compete in sports based on their “gender identity” rather than their biological sex. The administration notably offered a statement of interest supporting this legal challenge against the Save Women’s Sports Act.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer, who represented Lainey Armistead, a former West Virginia State University soccer player who intervened in the lawsuit, called the decision “a win for reality.”
“The truth matters, and it is crucial that our laws and policies recognize that the physical differences between men and women matter, especially in a context like sports,” Kiefer said in a statement sent to The Daily Wire. “Female athletes 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. Female athletes across the country are losing medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete because of males competing in women’s sports. The court was right to affirm that West Virginia’s law is not only constitutional, but consistent with Title IX.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also applauded the opinion.
“This is not only about simple biology, but fairness for women’s sports, plain and simple,” Morrisey said. “Opportunities for girls and women on the field are precious and we must safeguard that future. Protecting these opportunities is important, because when biological males compete in a women’s event women and girls lose their opportunity to shine.”