WASHINGTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said Thursday asked to the conservative-majority Supreme Court to allow the state to enforce a ban on transgender athletes participating in girls’ sports.

Morrisey, a Republican, filed an emergency petition with the court Thursday night. If her request is granted, the state could enforce a law enacted in 2021 called the Save Women’s Sports Act.

By barring transgender girls from participating in women’s sports at the middle school, high school and college levels, the law says gender «is based solely on the individual’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.» As such, a female is a person «whose biological sex was determined at birth as a female,» she says.

«We are determined to protect the opportunities for women and girls in sports because when biological men win in a women’s event, as has happened time and time again, female athletes miss out on their chance to shine,» Morrisey said in a statement.

The law was challenged by a transgender girl, Becky Pepper-Jackson, then 11, who wanted to try out for the track and cross-country teams in high school. She is endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the LGBTQ group Lambda Legal.

His lawyers said the law violated the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which requires the law to apply equally to all, as well as Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibits discrimination in education.

A federal judge initially blocked the law, but concluded in January that it was probably legal and allowed it to take effect. Becky appealed, and last month the Richmond, Virginia-based US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit again stayed the law.

The West Virginia law, backed by conservative religious legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, is just one of a series of measures enacted by Red states seeking to restrict transgender athletes from participating in sports.

The Supreme Court in 2020 ruled in favor of transgender rights by concluding that a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in employment applies to gay and transgender people. It has not yet ruled on whether the same reasoning applies to Title IX.

In 2021, the court refused to pick up a case on the question of whether transgender students can use school bathrooms that match their gender identities.

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