New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press briefing, Friday, Feb. 16, 2024, in New York. Source: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

New York can Take Legal Action Against County's Ban on Female Transgender Athletes, Judge Says


New York state officials may continue to take legal action against a county outside New York City that has banned transgender players from women's and girls teams, a judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Court Judge Nusrat Choudhury denied Nassau County's request for a temporary restraining order against state Attorney General Letitia James, saying the Long Island county "falls far short of meeting the high bar for securing the extraordinary relief."

Among other things, Choudhury said the county failed to "demonstrate irreparable harm," which she said was a "critical prerequisite" for such an order.

The ruling, however, doesn't address the legality of the county's ban or James' request that the lawsuit be dismissed. Those issues will be decided at a later date.

Last month, James, a Democrat, issued a "cease and desist" letter to the county demanding it rescind the ban because she said it violates New York's anti-discrimination laws. The ban also faces a legal challenge from a local women's roller derby league, which has asked a state court to invalidate it.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, responded to James' action with a federal lawsuit asking a judge to affirm that the ban was legal and to prevent James from taking action against it.

Blakeman's February order, which affects more than 100 public facilities in the county just east of the New York City borough of Queens, states that any female sports organization that accepts transgender women or girls will be denied permits to use county-owned parks and fields.

Echoing the arguments of officials who have taken similar actions in other Republican-led cities and states, the county says women and girls will be discriminated against and their constitutional rights to equal protection will be violated if transgender athletes are allowed to compete alongside them.

James and Blakeman's offices did not respond to emails seeking comment Thursday.

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