The Alliance Defending Freedom, a well-funded religious right legal outfit, has inserted itself into the debate over a transgender-inclusive athletics policy being considered by the Minnesota State High School League.
ADF, formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, was founded in 1994 by half a dozen prominent religious right groups including Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ, and the American Family Association. The group opposes reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and a secular society, and often uses its lawyers to insert itself into local debates.
On Tuesday, the group announced that it has sent a letter to the Minnesota State High School League which is in the process of drafting a framework for how schools can create an inclusive environment for transgender athletes.
The letter represents a fundamental misunderstandings about transgender students, misgendering them in the process:
“Forcing students into vulnerable interactions with members of the opposite sex in secluded locker and hotel rooms disregards basic notions of personal dignity, which federal courts have recognized in a variety of contexts…. MSHSL and its member schools also have a common law duty to maintain
school “property free of unreasonable risks of harm.”
ADF also warned that religious schools might sue if the policy is implemented:
“It is unlikely that a court would uphold the proposed transgender policy’s interference with religious freedom. Most, if not all, religious schools regard facilitating the denial and rejection of one’s God-given sex to be a grave sin. And religious students are precluded by basic modesty principles from sharing locker or hotel rooms with members of the opposite sex.”
The group is also targeting transgender-inclusive policies in Wisconsin’s Sparta Area School District and Rhode Island’s Westerly Public Schools.
Here’s the full letter:
- Minnesota League tables trans-inclusive policy under mounting opposition (Sheila Regan, TC Daily Planet, 2014)
- State athletics league mulls transgender inclusion in sports (Andy Birkey, The Colu.mn, 2014)