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Dispute over biological male admitted to Wyoming sorority to be argued before appeal judges

Dispute over biological male admitted to Wyoming sorority to be argued before appeal judges


Dispute over biological male admitted to Wyoming sorority to be argued before appeal judges

DENVER — A U.S. appeals court in Denver is set to hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit brought by six members of a University of Wyoming sorority who are challenging the admission of a biological male into their local chapter.

A judge in Wyoming threw out the lawsuit last year, ruling that he could not override how the private, voluntary organization defined a woman and order that she not belong.

The case at Wyoming’s only four-year public university has drawn widespread attention given the ongoing debates across the country over allowing biological males to simply declare themselves female and then impose that decision in athletics, workplaces and elsewhere.

In their lawsuit, six members of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority chapter challenge Artemis Langford’s admission by casting doubt on whether sorority rules allowed a biological male.

The lawsuit and appeal describe in detail how Langford's presence made the women feel uncomfortable in the sorority house in Laramie, Wyoming, yet sorority leaders overrode their concerns after a vote by the local chapter members to admit Langford.

Last summer, Wyoming U.S. District Court Judge Alan Johnson in Cheyenne sided with the sorority and Langford by ruling that sorority bylaws don’t define who’s a woman.

Filing in the three-judge U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, attorneys for the six sorority sisters continue to argue that sorority leaders have ignored sorority bylaws that they contend shouldn't allow males to be members.

Johnson's ruling gave too much deference to sorority leaders in allowing them to define a woman under membership requirements, the sorority sisters argue on appeal.

Unlike in the original lawsuit, Langford is not included in the appeal. The national Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and its president, Mary Pat Rooney, are the current defendants.

The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters, their attorney and others plan a “save sisterhood” rally at the courthouse before the hearing.