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Judge rules to allow transgender athlete to compete in W.Va.

Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:46 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va (WDTV) - A federal judge ruled that a West Virginia middle school transgender athlete is allowed to compete on the school’s cross-country team. This decision goes against a bill Governor Jim Justice recently signed into law.

U.S. Circuit Judge Joseph Goodwin granted the preliminary injunction, allowing transgender middle school student, Becky Pepper Jackson, to run on the girls cross country team this fall.

During his Thursday press briefing, the governor said he still stands with the new law, citing protection as his reason. He said, “I think, myself, my personal feeling is that it really disadvantages our girls and so from that standpoint and that standpoint alone, that’s my whole feeling”

The West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union tweeted following the judge’s decision, describing the law as cruel and unconstitutional, and ended their statement by saying that the judge’s decision is a big win for Becky and for West Virginia kids.

Executive Director of Fairness West Virginia Andrew Schneider also sharing his thoughts, telling 5 News in part, “This anti-transgender law was clearly unconstitutional from the first day it was introduced in the legislative session, and I am confident Becky’s case will prevail. I look forward to the day when this lawsuit is over and Becky can continue being the loving, funny, spectacular kid she is.”

Although the governor supports the law, he says, “From the standpoint of welcoming and embracing and loving one another, for crying out loud we should always do that, no matter what our beliefs, that’s what we should be doing.”

The governor tells 5 News that he will respect whatever final decision is made in court.

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