Nassau Executive Sues Attorney General Over Cease-And-Desist Of Transgender Ban

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, left, is suing New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
(Left: Photo By Michael Malaszczyk, Right: AP Photo/Brittainy Newman)

Nassau Executive Sues Attorney General Over Cease-And-Desist Of Transgender Ban

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has filed a federal lawsuit against New York State Attorney General Letitia James for sending him a cease-and-desist letter over Nassau County’s recent executive order banning transgender women from competing in women’s sports.

Blakeman signed the executive order on Feb. 22, which prohibited transgender women from participating in women’s sports in any county-run facilities. On March 1, James sent Nassau County a cease-and-desist letter calling the move illegal, according to both state and federal law.

“The law is perfectly clear: you cannot discriminate against a person because of their gender identity or expression,” James said in a written statement after the letter was delivered. “We have no room for hate or bigotry in New York. This executive order is transphobic and blatantly illegal. Nassau County must immediately rescind the order, or we will not hesitate to take decisive legal action.”

Blakeman, in turn, now claims that James’s demand that the county rescind the order is illegal.

“What the Attorney General was asking us to do is a violation of federal constitutional law and federal statutory law,” Blakeman told reporters at a Wednesday news conference on the matter. “So our response was to file a lawsuit for a declaratory judgment, requiring the Attorney General to come before a federal judge and explain why the cease-and-desist order has been an issue and the threat of sanctions and litigation against the county, when we in Nassau County are protecting women and girls – who are protected class under the Constitution and under federal law, and certainly deserve equal protection under the law.”

When pressed, Blakeman could not cite specific examples of transgender women competing with biological women in Nassau County, instead saying he was taking a proactive step to protect Nassau residents. He also acknowledged that this ban is only in place for county-run facilities – meaning many of Nassau’s public schools can continue to allow transgender women to compete in any sport.

“Do we need to get somebody hurt?” Blakeman countered. “Do we need someone to get a broken nose or a fractured neck or spine before we take action? Absolutely not.”

Blakeman’s lawsuit is being filed in the federal Eastern District.

Related Story: AG Calls Transgender Sports Ban Illegal, Nassau Exec Hits Back