Sports

NY county faces legal setback over order restricting transgender players in women’s sports

A request by New York’s Nassau County to prevent women’s and girls’ teams with transgender players from using county-run parks and sports facilities without legal consequences was denied by a federal judge on Thursday, per Reuters. 

Judge Nusrat Choudhury said Thursday that the Constitution’s 11th Amendment prevents a local government from suing a state government in federal courts. Choudhury also ruled that the county has no legal standing. 

“There are no facts in the record showing that any specific cisgender woman or girl in Nassau County will face imminent injury in an athletic event involving a transgender woman or girl on Nassau County Parks property if the Executive Order is invalidated,” Choudhury wrote, per Reuters. 

Bruce Blakeman speaks at podium

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman speaks to the crowd during his State of the County address held at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola, New York, on March 6, 2024. (Steve Pfost/Newsday RM via Getty Images)

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman issued the executive order, which would’ve denied permits to the county-run parks and sports facilities if the girls’ and women’s sports teams couldn’t say all members on the teams were biological females. 

Blakeman’s reasoning for the executive order stems from his effort to ensure female athletes can compete in their respective sports fairly. Blakeman held a news conference with Caitlyn Jenner, the Olympic gold medalist for the men’s decathlon in 1976 prior to a gender transition, who endorsed the ban.

The order wouldn’t have affected men’s or mixed teams.

LONG ISLAND ROLLER DERBY LEAGUE FIGHTING COUNTY ORDER RESTRICTING TRANSGENDER PLAYERS IN WOMEN’S SPORTS

It received immediate backlash, including from Democrat state Attorney General Letitia James, who called for Nassau County to rescind it. She sent a letter to Blakeman, calling the order “transphobic and blatantly illegal” under New York’s human rights laws. 

Blakeman proceeded to sue James in U.S. District Court on Long Island, arguing that New York’s anti-discrimination laws violate the U.S. Constitution. Blakeman asked the judge to order James not to pursue legal action against the county.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman speaks while attending the wake of NYPD officer Jonathan Diller alongside former President Donald Trump

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman speaks to the media during the wake for NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller at Massapequa Funeral Home on Long Island, New York, on March 28, 2024. (Probe-Media for Fox News Digital)

Meanwhile, a Long Island roller derby league – the Long Island Roller Rebels – sued Blakeman over the executive order. 

The league was preparing for its upcoming season but didn’t expect to get a permit to use the roller rink that is run by the county because it allows anyone who identifies as a woman, and one transgender player is already on a roster. 

The league’s lawsuit was being backed by the New York Civil Liberties Union. 

“The whole point of derby has been to be this thing where people feel welcome,” league vice president Amanda Urena, who competes as “Curly Fry” and identifies as queer, said at a recent practice at United Skates of America in Seaford, per the Associated Press. “We want trans women to know that we want you to come play with us, and we’ll do our very best to keep fighting and making sure that this is a safe space for you to play.”

Bruce Blakeman speaks at podium

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman speaks to the media alongside former President Trump during the wake for NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller at Massapequa Funeral Home on Long Island, New York, on March 28, 2024. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Choudhury noted that she would rule in favor of James’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit entirely later in April.

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