In the legal struggle over whether women have the right to fair athletic competition or whether sports will once again be male-dominated, the American Civil Liberties Union is squarely on the side of eradicating female athletics — and they are not afraid to play dirty do it.

Christiana Holcomb

Christiana Holcomb

Because science, safety and common sense are all against them, the ACLU has resorted to little less than economic blackmail to compel states to sacrifice women’s rights.

In March the governor of Idaho signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act into law. This law protects female athletes by requiring those who participate in girls’ sports programs to be biologically female. The law arose in response to the trend of allowing male athletes who identify as females to compete against — and dominate — girls and women.

Because males generally have greater physical strength, speed and stamina than females, these contests are simply not fair. A male’s identification as a female does not change the reality that men generally have more muscle mass, greater bone density and greater cardiovascular capacity. These physical differences mean that, when similarly gifted and trained males compete in women’s athletics, they strip talented, hardworking women and girls of the victories, placements and opportunities that are rightfully theirs.

Idaho’s law protects common sense and timeless practice: Female athletics are for biological females. Robbing women of the chance for fair play is neither just nor safe. But the ACLU disagrees — so vehemently, in fact, that they filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state within days of the governor signing it.

It’s telling that the ACLU did not wait for the federal court to rule on the lawsuit’s legal arguments and instead decided to try to strong-arm Idaho into abandoning its law protecting fairness for women. The ACLU sent a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association, demanding that the college sports association pull out of sports competitions in Idaho — including the beginning of the men’s college basketball tournament scheduled for March 2021. If the ACLU’s bullying succeeds, losing out on hosting the competition could cost Idaho up to $15 million in lost revenue.

This is little less than blackmail. The ACLU has threatened economic retaliation against Idaho to screen the truth that allowing males to compete in women’s sports hurts women. The ACLU cannot change that truth, but it can attempt to manufacture an economic crisis.

Those attacks will not go uncontested. In May the Alliance Defending Freedom filed to intervene in the ACLU’s lawsuit on behalf of two female athletes who support the law and want to protect future athletic opportunities for women and girls.

ADF also represents four female athletes in a federal lawsuit in Connecticut, where the U.S. Department of Education has already ruled that permitting males to take victories and opportunities in girls’ track violates Title IX, a federal law specifically designed to create and protect equal opportunities for women in athletics. This policy has robbed all four girls of opportunities and victories in their chosen sport.

Inventing an economic crisis, and then using it to coerce a state into abandoning its women and girls, is a dirty move. And it’s a smokescreen for an issue that the federal district court will be considering: whether Idaho’s law is consistent with Title IX. The answer to that question is simple and straightforward: The court should uphold Idaho’s ability to protect women’s and girls’ rights to fair play.

Christiana Holcomb is legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (@AllianceDefends).