The massive national beauty pageant Miss United States of America can exclude transgender women from competing.
Miss United States of America cannot be forced to allow transgender women to compete because doing so would interfere with its ability to express “the ideal vision of American womanhood,” a U.S. appeals court ruled.
Transgender activist Anita Green had filed a lawsuit claiming that Miss United States of America’s policy of only allowing “natural born” women to compete violates an Oregon anti-discrimination law.
The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision rejected the lawsuit.
Green sued the company in federal court in Portland, Oregon last year after her application to participate in the pageant was rejected.
The 9th Circuit said applying the Oregon law, which prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations, to Miss United States of America would violate the pageant’s free speech rights under the U.S. Constitution.
The court agreed with the pageant company that it expresses its views on womanhood by determining who can compete.
“It is commonly understood that beauty pageants are generally designed to express the ‘ideal vision of American womanhood,'” wrote Circuit Judge Lawrence VanDyke, an appointee of former Republican President Donald Trump.
VanDyke was joined in the decision by Circuit Judge Carlos Bea, an appointee of former Republican President George W. Bush.
Standing against the two judges was 9th Circuit Judge Susan Graber. Graber said in a dissenting opinion the court should have first decided whether the Oregon law applies to the company at all before weighing the constitutional issues.
LGBTQ rights are a big, key issue in the U.S. right now. It is one of the multiple divisive topics that are shaping political contests across the nation. Conservative lawmakers have recently come for trans rights in particular, especially in schools.