US appeals court ruling in Oregon case: Beauty pageant can bar trans contestants

A federal court has said that national beauty pageants have a First Amendment right to exclude transgender women from the pageant, because including her could distort speech. that the popular advertiser wants to refer to the “ideal woman.”

On Wednesday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in response to a lawsuit filed by Anita Green, who said the Miss United States of America pageant violated Oregon’s anti-discrimination law when it banned him from competing in 2019.

Green, who is transgender, has competed in several pageants including Miss Montana USA and Miss Universe. She lives in Clackamas, Oregon, and was preparing to compete in the Miss United States of America’s Miss Oregon pageant when she said the organization rejected her application because she didn’t think she was “a natural born woman.” .”

Green sued, arguing the agency violated a state law that made it illegal to deny public services to people based on their sex or gender.

But attorneys for the Miss United States of America Pageants said the pageant program was designed to celebrate and empower “born women,” by sending a message of “female empowerment biological.” The contest has several requirements for contestants, including some based on contestants’ age, marital status and gender.

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The 9th Circuit’s three-judge panel voted 2-1 in favor of the pageant organization, saying that forcing the contestants to include a transgender woman would change the message that the Candidates are trying to send.

“As with theater, cinema, or the Super Bowl halftime show, beauty pageants communicate with performing arts such as music and dance to convey a message,” Judge said. Lawrence VanDyke wrote for the majority. “And while the meaning of that message varies from pageant to pageant, it is generally understood that beauty pageants are often designed to show the ‘perfect vision of the American woman.'”

The appeals court agreed with the lower court that a person looking at the decision to exclude transgender women would understand that pageant organizers do not trust women change women deserve to be women.

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“The First Amendment affords Pageant the ability to speak these words, and to maintain her right to be a ‘born woman,'” the court’s decision found.

Forcing contestants to include contestants in sports would constitute “misleading speech,” — a violation of the First Amendment — and the fact that the contest is a business that engaging in business is not enough to defeat free speech rights, the group finds .

In a dissenting opinion, Judge Susan P. Graber, said the majority skips an important step when it decides whether the First Amendment applies. The court will first have to decide whether Oregon state law applies to the case, which may have to settle the lawsuit before the jury has to decide on the case. question the First Amendment, Graber said.

John Kaempf, an attorney representing the pageant organization and its owner, Tanice Smith, said the 9th Circuit’s dismissal was a matter of “simple justice.”

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“The Ninth Circuit’s conclusion says it all: “Green asked to use the power of the state to compel Miss United States of America to express a message that was not what she wanted to express. The First Amendment says no,” Kaempf said.

Green referred The Associated Press to his attorney, Shenoa Payne, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After a court decision overturned the race last year, Green said he was disappointed but that the case had raised awareness of discrimination against transgender people. exchange people in the meeting.

“I believe that Miss USA is on the wrong side of history for choosing to discriminate against trans people, but the path to creating meaningful change is always long and good,” Green said at the time. “Transgender women are women. My message is always the same and my message is this: everyone has beauty. “

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