A federal judge denied Bruce Blakeman's request for a temporary restraining order preventing NYS Attorney General Letitia James from blocking his executive order barring transgender females from participating in girls and women's sports at county parks and facilities. Credit: Newsday

A federal judge has denied Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman's request for a temporary restraining order preventing State Attorney General Letitia James from blocking his executive order barring transgender females from participating in girls and women's sports at county parks and facilities.

The 45-page ruling Thursday by District Court Judge Nusrat Choudhury is not a dismissal of the March 5 lawsuit filed by Blakeman and the Floral Park parents of a 16-year-old girls volleyball player against the attorney general, nor does it specifically address the merits of the Feb. 22 executive order, which is currently in effect.

The judge's ruling said the plaintiffs lacked the standing needed to obtain immediate pretrial relief through the TRO and that the county's submission “fails to demonstrate irreparable harm — a critical prerequisite for the issuance of a temporary restraining order.” Such harm, the county argued, could include injury to other athletes.

James' office declined to comment.

In a statement, Blakeman said the “decision will not deter us from protecting the integrity and fairness of women's sports and the safety of its participants. According to the logic of the decision on the temporary restraining order, the county would have to wait for a young girl to be paralyzed before taking action.”

The county's order, which went into effect immediately and remains in effect at more than 100 athletic sites, requires organizations applying for a permit to “expressly designate” whether they are male, female or coed based on their members' “biological sex at birth.” Organizations allowing transgender females to compete on girls teams will be denied a permit to utilize Nassau athletic facilities.

In late February, the attorney general issued a cease-and-desist order to Blakeman, arguing the executive order is in “clear violation” of the state's anti-discrimination laws and must be immediately rescinded. To block Blakeman's executive order, James would still need to file a lawsuit against the county.

Blakeman responded by filing suit in the Eastern District in Central Islip, contending the county has a constitutional right to protect women and girls from unfair competition and potential injury from playing against transgender athletes. The county's lawsuit sought a temporary restraining order to prevent the attorney general from blocking his order while legal action takes place. 

But Choudhury, while saying she was not ready to rule on James' motion to dismiss Blakeman's suit, said the county “falls far short of meeting the high bar of securing the extraordinary relief of a temporary restraining order from this court.”

The federal case is separate from a lawsuit, filed in state court last month, by the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Long Island Roller Rebels, an all-female roller derby league.

That suit contends Blakeman's executive order violates New York’s Human Rights Law and Civil Rights Law and guidance from the state Education Department, which stipulates that students must be allowed to participate in athletic activities in accordance with their gender identity.

On Thursday, County Attorney Thomas Adams asked the court to dismiss the NYCLU lawsuit, writing that the executive order “protects fairness, equality, and safety in women’s and girls’ sports, while at the same time ensuring that men and transgender athletes are provided an opportunity to perform in designated events.”

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