Court to reconsider lawsuit against policy allowing transgender athletes to compete in Connecticut

A federal appeals court on Monday said it would reconsider a lawsuit that questioned Connecticut’s policy allowing transgender athletes to compete there.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit of Appeals announced Monday that a majority of the judges agreed to rehear the case, which was first brought to a panel of three judges last September by the conservative legal group the Alliance Defending Freedom, which alleges that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy of allowing transgender girls to compete in sports is discriminatory. The initial lawsuit said that the policy “regularly” displaced cisgender girls in these kinds of sporting events.

The Alliance Defending Freedom had represented four cisgender high school athletes who alleged that they missed opportunities because of this policy in a 2020 complaint.

“We’re pleased the 2nd Circuit has decided to rehear this important case, and we urge the court to protect women’s athletic opportunities,” Christiana Kiefer, senior counsel Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement

“Every woman deserves the respect and dignity that comes with having an equal opportunity to excel and win in athletics, and ADF remains committed to protecting the future of women’s sports,” Kiefer continued.

CIAC declined The Hill’s request for comment.

In December, a three-judge panel in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case that discrimination against transgender students violates Title IX, a federal policy that prohibits educational institutions that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of sex.

The panel said in December that the complaint’s claims filed by Alliance Defending Freedom were “unfounded,” because the plaintiffs alleging discrimination actually placed first in multiple track and field events.

“Today’s ruling is a critical victory for fairness, equality, and inclusion,” Joshua Block, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who represented the CIAC, five Connecticut school boards and two former athletes in the case, said in a statement at the time. “This critical victory strikes at the heart of political attacks against transgender youth while helping ensure every young person has the right to play.”

The rehearing of the case will be set before the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, according to the announcement, which added that scheduling information will be “forthcoming.”

—Updated at 11:02 p.m.