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Judge asked to dismiss lawsuit over WVa transgender ban

July 7, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a press conference at the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on a new West Virginia law that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports, asserting in a court filing Thursday, June 17, 2021, that the ban violates federal law. Justice signed the bill despite warnings from some lawmakers that the NCAA could retaliate and decide not to hold college tournaments in the state. Justice had said that while it concerned him that the state could miss out on a sporting event, he believed the benefits of the law “way outweigh the bad part of it.” (F. Brian Ferguson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP, File)
FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a press conference at the State Capitol in Charleston, W.Va. The U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on a new West Virginia law that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports, asserting in a court filing Thursday, June 17, 2021, that the ban violates federal law. Justice signed the bill despite warnings from some lawmakers that the NCAA could retaliate and decide not to hold college tournaments in the state. Justice had said that while it concerned him that the state could miss out on a sporting event, he believed the benefits of the law “way outweigh the bad part of it.” (F. Brian Ferguson/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP, File)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Education officials are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging West Virginia’s new law that bans transgender athletes from competing in female sports in middle schools, high schools and colleges.

Education and athletic officials said in court documents filed last week that they can’t be held liable for the law, which they didn’t request and largely won’t be responsible for enforcing, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union and its West Virginia chapter filed the lawsuit in May on behalf of an 11-year-old transgender girl who had hoped to compete in cross country in middle school in Harrison County. The girl is seeking an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.

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The ban is set to take effect Thursday and will require the state Board of Education to establish rules to determine the means by which local athletic officials can enforce the law.

Attorneys for the West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission argued that they can’t be held responsible for the law because they aren’t responsible for enforcing it.

Attorneys for Harrison County Schools said the district “was not responsible for and did not pass” the transgender athlete ban and has not caused harm to the girl.

“(The law) was not created by the County Board, and it is not under the County Board’s control,” the response said.

The U.S. Justice Department intervened in the case last month, saying the ban was a violation of federal law.