A Vermont Christian school that forfeited a girls’ high school basketball game because the other team had a transgender player is suing after it was banned from competition.
In March, Mid-Vermont Christian School pulled its girls’ basketball team from a Vermont Division IV state tournament rather than play a team that included a transgender player, according to Valley News. Vermont law supports men who say they are transgender playing on female sports teams.
“We believe playing against an opponent with a biological male jeopardizes the fairness of the game and the safety of our players,” MVCS head of school Vicky Fogg said in an email at the time. “Allowing biological males to participate in women’s sports sets a bad precedent for the future of women’s sports in general.”
Defying the rules led the Vermont Principals’ Association to promptly retaliate.
“Specifically, the school’s actions do not meet the expectations of the VPA’s 1st and 2nd policy, Commitment to Racial, Gender-Fair, and Disability Awareness and Policy of Gender Identity, respectively. Thus, Mid-Vermont Christian school is ineligible to participate in VPA activities going forward,” the group said in a letter to the school.
That led to a lawsuit filed last month by the school, which said it does not follow Vermont’s “orthodoxy on human sexuality and gender. Simply put, the State believes sex is mutable and biological differences do not matter. “
“The State is entitled to its own views, but it is not entitled, nor is it constitutional, to force private, religious schools across the state to follow that orthodoxy as a condition to participating in Vermont’s tuitioning program and the State’s athletic association,” the lawsuit said.
The suit said that “the VPA requires Mid Vermont Christian to adopt, accept, and speak the State’s views on gender and sexuality, which Mid Vermont Christian will not do.”
And yet, the lawsuit adds that the VPA appears to be trying to bully the school as the state imposes “laws, rules, and policies that prevent those schools from operating consistently with their religious beliefs about sexuality and gender.”
The lawsuit also accused the state of bending the rules for transgenders, but not Christians.
“Although the VPA has a boys/girls fairness policy that prohibits boys from competing on girls’ teams, the VPA’s gender identity policies allow biological males to compete on girls’ teams if the male ‘identifies’ as a girl,” the lawsuit said.
“In those situations, the VPA treats the male as a girl for purposes of the fairness policy. 16. The problem is that the VPA is demanding Mid Vermont Christian do the same and view biological males as girls if they so identify, despite the VP A’s boys/girls fairness policy,” the suit said.
The school said that the VPA’s action is “effectively blacklisting the School from all State-sponsored events in the state, including VPA spring sports for which schools are still creating schedules.”
“The VPA won’t even allow the School and its students to participate in co-ed academic competitions like the Geo-Bee, Science and Math Fair, and Debate and Forensics League-all because the School believes biological boys are boys and cannot affirm otherwise,” the lawsuit said.
Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel, Ryan Tucker said that Vermont has “repeatedly discriminated against Christian schools and their families for following their religious beliefs,” according to CNN.
“Put simply, Mid Vermont Christian School believes that boys are boys and girls are girls. They have been punished for this belief. No school or parent should have to change their beliefs to participate in athletics or a state tuitioning program,” he said in a statement. The school allegers its views are the reason why it is banned form a state program supporting tuition.
“Vermont, through its education agency and sports association, has engaged in unconstitutional discrimination by requiring a Christian school and its students to surrender their religious beliefs and practices in order to receive public funds and compete in sports,” ADF counsel Jake Reed, said in a statement, according to Just the News.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.