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Idaho Rep. Julianne YoungYouTube/Screenshot

BOISE, Idaho (LifeSiteNews) — An Idaho legislator has affirmed the necessity and the benefits of the Gem State’s new “Definition of Sex” law, which Governor Brad Little signed last week. 

Rep. Julianne Young, the conservative Republican in the Idaho legislature who introduced the Definition of Sex bill that was signed into law last week, has said the new law “puts Idaho in the strongest position possible to defend the position that biological sex is a fact,” thereby protecting children and future generations from an ideology that would leave them mutilated and sterile. 

In an exclusive interview with LifeSiteNews, Young explained the legal landscape that preceded last week’s passage of the law, and the significance of the legislation for safeguarding common-sense policies regarding the differences of the sexes. 

She said the law was based on biological research that she thinks will stand the test of potential challenges by a federal government captured by the ideological Left, and that she hopes that children and families will now enjoy real protection from an ideology that harms the body and destroys the family. 

READ: Idaho governor signs laws defining sex as male or female, banning ‘gender language’ in gov’t, schools 

The full interview follows below. 

LifeSiteNews: The Idaho legislature just passed the Definition on Sex law, which you introduced. Why is the law necessary? What are the effects? And what is its significance? 

Rep. Julianne Young: I began first addressing this issue as a brand-new legislator, coming in in 2018. We had a recent ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court that Idaho had to record gender identity on our birth certificates and that we couldn’t constitutionally record biological sex. This ruling was based on a lot of things, including the fact that our own attorney general had failed to do important things and had conceded things that really hurt us long term, which shouldn’t have been conceded. The other thing that it was based on was the fact that Idaho had no statute clarifying that birth certificates recorded biological sex as opposed to gender identity. 

So, as a second year, first term legislator, we set out to, and successfully passed, legislation that gave a definition of biological sex, as opposed to gender identity. And that legislation ended up being enjoined.  

The press, of course, reported that it had been declared unconstitutional, which was not the case at all, because that piece of legislation never even had its day in court. It simply was enjoined on the basis of things that had been conceded previously, without any legal arguments, which is, I think, the epitome of judicial activism. But that happened.  

And then, as things went on, I’m watching what’s happening with school bathrooms. I’m watching questions come up about whether individuals struggling with mental illness can be roomed overnight in a private room with an individual of the opposite biological sex, without notice to that individual and in a circumstance where if they object, they get accused of harassment. So, there’s just so many areas where in the interest of privacy, dignity, and safety, we really do need sex-specific protections.  

So, the birth certificate got me started on: how do we articulate the difference between biological sex and gender perceptions? But it still didn’t really get to the nitty gritty of, ‘Ok, if we’re going to distinguish between the men’s bathroom and the women’s bathroom, how do we know which is which?’ So, House Bill 421 went that next leg of the race and gave us a legal definition for male and female. That definition was not a policy bill in the sense that all of our state policy on those things still says the same words. It’s just that we know what the words mean now, and we didn’t have a place to anchor those words before. 

So, the state policiesjust basic laws about restrooms, and privacy, and housing, and sportsthat can all stay the same now with an actual scientific, legal definition to the terms that are in those policies already.  

And there will be further work to be done on those policies. It’s not like we have everything figured out, but those weren’t necessarily addressed in this legislation. This gives us the building blocks, though, or it completes the picture where the language does exist. 

READ: New Idaho law protects adoption, foster care agencies against religious discrimination by state 

LSN: With the, the Idaho courts, if the judges back in 2018 were already ruling in favor of transgender ideology, does the legislature anticipate a similar attempt to perhaps strike down this law, or cases being filed in courts where the judges are known to be left leaning? 

Young: There’s certainly a very good chance of that. And we had that in mind in the drafting of the legislation. We worked hard to have really solid legal counsel, and to get good input. And so, that’s why we’ve reached out to some of these national groups with legal expertise, like the Heritage foundation, like ADF [Alliance Defending Freedom]. And they do have national experts that have worked on these topics, one of those, of course, being Colin Wright, who is an evolutionary biologist. And so, we have anticipated that.  

I will say, though, that I think this legislation is strong not just from a legal standpoint. I also think that there’s some strength in the idea that really all we’ve done here is provide a definition. That’s the job of the legislature. 

And one of the things that just really outraged me personally, when I really began to understand what had happened with the birth certificate case, is that the judge used the term ‘gender’ throughout her discussion of the case, and then in her final statement, suddenly she used the term ‘sex’ and equated it with gender, which she had equated with gender identity throughout the document. So, it was this verbal sleight of hand. That wasn’t transparent, and that wasn’t honest, in the sense that she was fundamentally altering public policy without any public discussion.  

In this instance, there’s not even a policy for them to go after. It’s a straight up, bare bones definition. And in my mind, they’re going to have to show that the legislature doesn’t have a constitutional right to define sex biologically. I think that’s a hard argument to make. It doesn’t mean they won’t try it. 

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Heritage Foundation’s Jay Richards explains possible impact of Idaho Definition of Sex law   

LSN: The evolutionary biologist Colin Wright has done a lot of scientific research on the biological causes of sexual difference and the reason sex is binary. Did his research inform Idaho’s legislation? Would he perhaps be called up as an expert witness in a court challenge to the new law? I know he has done quite extensive research on all of this. 

Young: He has. I certainly did visit with him, and he was involved in our meetings. I know the press reported that this was some kind of a template put together by outside groups. The truth is that this is Idaho legislators recognizing an Idaho problem and seeking the very best national expertise we could find. And there were hours and hours of discussion and meetings, ensuring that the language we crafted fit our statute, our circumstances, and he was part of that. 

LSN: One of the strengths of this legislation is the involvement of biologists, because it’s going to be a pretty hard argument to go up against someone who is the foremost expert in this field on a scientific level. With the potential challenging of the law, and with the revision of Title IX on Friday to include “gender identity” in its non-discrimination clause, has there been a federal challenge to the Idaho law or a threat to do so? And if that kind of a challenge does come in court, do you expect that it would go up to SCOTUS? And how do you think it might be resolved up there? 

Young: There are a lot of things there that I couldn’t say definitively for sure, but I do know that there’s a chance. The thing that I know as a legislator is that the work that we’ve done this last year puts Idaho in the strongest position possible to defend the position that biological sex is a fact. And that is a fact that fundamentally impacts policy decisions and ought to be able to be considered. And protections ought to be offered on that basis. Without legislative action, we’re incredibly vulnerable. So, I think the timing was perfect. 

LSN: The federal government is not, on most issues that they feel strongly about, averse to taking full legal action in challenging states. So, it’s very good that you’ve done as much research and backing of this definition as has gone into it. What is the current legal situation in Idaho with regard to procedures for minors, sports, counseling: what is permitted? Could you walk us through the laws that were signed together with this definition of sex? 

Young: Sure, so the Women in Sports Bill, House Bill 500, passed at the same time as the Birth Certificate Bill, which was House Bill 509, several years ago. It is still tied up in court, and that conversation is still an ongoing one. But it’s a conversation that Idaho is committed to having.  

LSN: And what is that law? What does it state? 

Young: Basically, it protects women’s sports for biological females. [That’s] the fundamental nuts and bolts.  

We did pass last year House Bill 71, which prohibits the transgender mutilation of minors. And we did recently have a significant victory in regard to that legislation. The court had enjoined its enactment across the board. So, it wasn’t able to go into effect in Idaho at all. And the court reached the conclusion that the case did not merit a blanket injunction on its enforcement, and that, except for the single suit that had been brought, the law could go into effect. So, kids are already being protected by that, and that’s a great thing. 

There also was some legislation this year that prohibited the use of Medicaid funding for those procedures.  

And I just see this case building, not just across the country but around the world, that these procedures are medically harmful, that they’re not only unnecessary and not life-saving, but they actually are the opposite.  

READ: US Supreme Court says Idaho can enforce ban on child ‘sex changes’ as lawsuit continues  

LSN: Do any of the laws in Idaho specify the surgeries as mutilations? Do they place them under that medical category? 

Young: I don’t believe that specific word is used. I used that word in regard to minors in particular because of what we’re talking about. In my mind, it is akin to an abusive practice.  

LSN: With the cases that are pending, for example, the one exception to the SCOTUS ruling about the injunction, do you think this newly passed definition of sex will settle some of those cases, like the birth certificate and sports? Or is new action going to be needed to apply this definition to what pertains in those cases? 

Young: Some of those will be taken up separately. This definition is not going to be a fix all for other things. But it does give us a foundation to continue to build on. And the bill that we passed, HB 421, included the school bathroom bill, it included the transgender mutilation of minors legislation, and it included the birth certificate bill, and amended each of those to bring them entirely into line with the new definition, and actually cites the new section that was created. So, it certainly will affect both. 

And it just strengthens those pieces of legislation. For example, the birth certificate [bill] was initially intended to draw a distinction between something that is biological and something that is a perception or an identity. But it wasn’t crafted with the intent of getting clear down to the nitty gritty of: what does male mean, and what does female mean? So now we’ve just anchored it a little more firmly. 

LSN: Do you have any other comments that that you want to offer regarding this legislation? 

Young: One thing I would like to say is that for me, family is the most important thing. There’s nothing more important than family. In fact, my dad’s in the ICU right now, and I had the chance to sit in the ICU waiting room last night with my siblings and my mom and be there together to take care of him. You wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole world.  

And when you erase male and female, which is what they’re trying to dothey can say all day long that we are trying to erase something out there, but what they are doing erases male and female when you erase male and female and sterilize a child, you take from them the opportunity to have a family of their own. And there’s just no replacement for that. 


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