CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, along with keynote speakers, Delegate Margitta Mazzocchi (R – Logan County), Laney Armistead, an intervener and the former left-back of the West Virginia State Women’s Soccer Team, and her attorney, Christiana Kiefer, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom spoke this morning to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX and to talk about it’s importance of the legislature for protection in women sports.

Title IX declares that equal treatment is guaranteed for women in education, which also includes women’s sports and sports teams. This also touches upon the subject of how each gender could have separate teams and play together.

Attorney General Morrisey along with the keynote speakers spoke about the title and it’s importance, explaining how far women have come in equality for women’s sports and the clear differences between the genders.

“Before the law, just 1 in 27 women played sports. Today that figure is 2 in 5. Think about that. That’s truly amazing. In terms of women playing college sports, that increased over 600 percent after Title IX. Girls playing high school sports, that increased over 1000 percent… Women have benefited tremendously from playing sports, and being involved and learning the lessons and skills applied playing on and off the field… studies show that girls who play sports are more confident, have higher self esteem, better body images, and are less likely to be pregnant and be involved with drugs, and are more likely to graduate from high school,”

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey

He also expressed that the purpose of Title IX is to protect both the male and female genders, and explained, “When males compete in a women’s competition, the females have been denied an opportunity to shine, when a biological male wins in a women’s event, that takes away the opportunity for a female.”

Laney Armistead and Delegate Mazzocchi, along with Christiana Kiefer, attorney for Ms. Armistead, also had things to say about the importance of Title IX and their experiences with it.

“Title IX sends a message and delivers on a promise, a promise of fairness and open doors, a promise we will invest in, in all our students, so they can grow and can become the best they can be.”

Delegate Mazzocchi

“My dad was a soccer coach and growing up, I got to play against my brothers and pick up teams with boys soccer teams. It was a lot of fun, but I knew they were holding back because they were bigger, faster, and stronger than me. In a contact sport like soccer, it doesn’t take much imagination to see how dangerous it is for male athletes to play against women in a competitive environment.”

Laney Armistead

“It’s incredible to watch this next generation of female athletes to lead courageously and advocate for fairness and safety in women’s sports. women like Laney Armistead, a female who leads not only others on the soccer field, but also courageously stepped in to defend the freedom and future of women in the state of West Virginia…The real physical differences between men and women are the reason why we have this separate category for women’s sports.”

Christiana Kiefer, Attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey concluded by saying that this is an incredible milestone for Title IX and that it’s wonderful to see West Virginia’s contribution and what they’re doing for the equality of women in sports.