U.S. District Courthouse in Boise

James D. McClure U.S. District Courthouse and federal building in Boise

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Lawyers for the state of Idaho were in federal court Wednesday defending two new laws that, opponents say, discriminate against transgender people, writes Post Register reporter Nathan Brown. Wednesday morning, lawyers for both sides appeared before Chief U.S. District Judge David Nye to defend HB 500, or the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, which bars transgender girls and women from playing on female high school and college sports teams. That afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale heard arguments on HB 509, or the Idaho Vital Statistics Act, which sets limited criteria to amend a birth certificate and requires a court order to do so, effectively barring transgender people from changing their sex on their birth certificates to match their gender identities under most circumstances.

Both new Idaho laws are being challenged as unconstitutionally discriminatory. Debate over transgender issues dominated much of the 2020 legislative session. Both bills passed with almost unanimous Republican support and unanimous Democratic opposition, after often emotional public hearings and amid protests from civil rights groups and members of the transgender community.

"If you back up for a minute and look at what was happening in the Legislature, what the purpose of the law is ... this is a bill that targets and discriminates on the basis of transgender status," said attorney Elizabeth Prelogar, arguing for an injunction to block HB 500 as student athletes look to fall sports.

You can read Brown's full story here at postregister.com, or pick up Thursday's print edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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