Adobe Stock | Inset: Fox News

A Christian girls’ basketball team in Vermont is suing after the whole team was banned from further competitions. The situation began February 2023 when Mid-Vermont Christian school forfeited a game against a team that had a male identifying as female playing. The Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) then banned the school from future VPA-sponsored tournaments, saying the school had violated the VPA’s “gender-fair policies.” “Mid-Vermont Christian School has every right to teach its beliefs to its own students,” the VPA wrote in a statement to CNN. “It cannot, however, impose those beliefs on students from other public and private schools; deny students from other schools the opportunity to play; or hurt students from other schools because of who those students are.”

The school has since filed suit, arguing that the VPA is discriminating against them due to their religious beliefs on gender. The school alleged in its lawsuit that, “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 asserts that the state cannot force its own views on gender onto a private institution. “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 tuition program and the State’s athletic association.”

Basketball coach Chris Goodwin has stood by his decision to forfeit the game. “After discussions with the administration and our players and parents, we decided that instead of going against our religious beliefs that … there are differences between male and female, we are created differently, we decided to forfeit that game and withdraw from the tournament,” he said. Speaking to Fox News, he said the decision was about fairness and safety to the girls. “I’ve got four daughters. I’ve coached them all at one point in their careers playing high school basketball. I’ve also filled in for the boy’s coach when he can’t make a practice, and I run those practices, and boys just play at a different speed, a different force… than the girls play,” he said. He called allowing biological males to play against girls “irresponsible.” The team had been aware of the transgender student but had not had to face the student’s school until the playoffs. Mid-Vermont Christian’s lawyer, Ryan Tucker of The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), called the VPA’s actions a “purge.” “The state is basically attempting to purge individuals like Chris and other family members in the state, from public discourse, from the ability… to speak out… on issues of significant, public concern,” he affirmed. “We’re very confident that we’re going to prevail.”

The school is just the latest example of teams struggling against the role of transgender students in sports. A Vermont snowboard coach sued his employer after allegedly being fired for saying that men and women are different after the girls’ snowboard team competed against a team with a male who identified as female. He was then brought into the superintendent’s office and fired for allegedly violating the school’s harassment policy. The coach, who was also represented by the ADF, was able to eventually reach a settlement with the school.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad