LESLIE RUTLEDGE

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed an amicus brief Friday in support of an Oregon court’s ruling that a transgender person cannot compete in the Miss United States of America Pageant.

Rutledge is taking the lead for the 12 states —  Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas — urging the Ninth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals to uphold an Oregon district court’s ruling that people who were designated male at birth cannot claim the tiara.

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The brief is in response to a 2019 suit brought by Anita Noelle Green, a transgender woman who had already claimed a few crowns on the pageant circuit and hoped to compete for the Miss Oregon sash.

From Rutledge’s press release:

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“It’s simply not right that women have fought for decades to have equal opportunities and now women are being forced to compete against biological men in exclusively female activities,” said Arkansas Attorney General Rutledge. “Pageants that promote female empowerment are a constitutional right and should be exclusively for women.”

Rutledge’s amicus brief against transgender beauty contestants is the latest in Arkansas’s pained attempts to stick fingers in the dike of a rapidly crumbling gender binary. In March, lawmakers passed an unconstitutional ban on health care for transgender youth that ACLU attorney Chase Strangio called the most extreme anti-trans law passed by any state, ever. And Rutledge went hard earlier this year on the push to keep transgender girls off school sports teams, even though no Arkansas schools have ever reported this being an issue for them.

Arkansas’s connection to this West Coast case is not immediately apparent. We haven’t heard about transgender women taking over the Arkansas pageant circuit, although Henderson State University did drag Arkansas into the 21st century recently by expanding eligibility for its homecoming court to any and all genders.

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