By Brendan Pierson
(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Monday agreed to reconsider a lawsuit challenging a Connecticut policy allowing transgender students to compete in girls’ high school sports.
All judges of the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will now hear arguments in the case, which had been heard by a panel of three judges last September.
The panel in December rejected claims by four cisgender female students that the policy deprived them of wins and athletic opportunities by requiring them to compete with two transgender sprinters.
They had sued the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC), which oversees high school sports in Connecticut, saying its policy violated Title IX, a federal law designed to create equal opportunities for women in education and athletics.
“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 at the conservative legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
CIAC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The 2020 lawsuit came amid a push by Republican-led states to bar transgender athletes from competing on teams or sports that align with their gender identities.
Circuit Judge Denny Chin, writing for the three-judge panel, in September said the four plaintiffs had not shown they were deprived of opportunities, because all regularly competed in state track championships and on numerous occasions came in first.
The full court, following its usual practice, did not give a reason for rehearing the case beyond noting that a majority of the judges had voted in favor of it.
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