UTAH (ABC4) – A judge has granted a preliminary injunction, blocking a bill that bans transgender girls from participating in school sports in Utah on Friday.

The ruling comes 80 days after a lawsuit was filed by the families of two transgender girls who wanted to participate in girls’ sports in Utah.

The families elected to proceed anonymously to protect the identities of the girls involved. One girl is a 16-year-old junior in high school who wants to play volleyball and a 13-year-old girl who wants to swim.

The injunction states that transgender girls will be allowed to compete on girls’ teams “only when it’s fair, as confidentially determined by a legislature-created commission.”

Transgender girls are not automatically eligible for competition until the commission makes the decision.

3rd District Court Judge Keith A. Kelly ruled the ban should be blocked from taking effect based on the following grounds:

  1. “The ban creates a sex-based classification discriminating against the plaintiffs as transgender girls.”
  1. “The ban treats the plaintiffs as transgender girls less favorably than other girls.”
  2. “The ban creates a sex-based classification that does not withstand heightened scrutiny.”
    A.”The ban creates a sex-based classification that is subject to heightened scrutiny.”
    B.”The ban does not withstand heightened scrutiny because it is not reasonably necessary to further a legitimate legislative goal.”

Kelly ruled the plaintiffs in his case “will suffer irreparable harm unless Defendants are enjoined from enforcing Part 9 against Plaintiffs.”

After its first proposal on Utah’s Capitol Hill by sponsor Representative Kera Birkeland, (R) Morgan, the bill drew immediate backlash.

“From the beginning, my intention has been to protect and preserve girls sports,” Birkeland said regarding Friday’s ruling. “Although the judge did not rule in our favor, female athletes can still be assured they can compete fairly as we will soon have a commission in place. For every girl who is feeling unseen or unheard right now- I hear you. Be proud of the body you were given and it’s abilities. You are fierce and amazing just as you are.”

“My husband and I are very relieved by this decision,” said Debbie Roe, a parent Plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We are grateful the court understood how much harm this law has caused, which has been a huge source of stress and trauma for our child. Our daughter just wants the same chance as other kids to make friends and play on the team she loves. Today’s ruling gives her the opportunity to do that.”