Arkansas has become the third state to enact a law protecting girls and women’s sports from unfair competition from biological males claiming transgender status and competing as females in elementary, high school and intercollegiate sports. These bills recognize the inherent God-given differences between males and females and allow girls and women to compete fairly against one another for athletic achievements and scholarships.

SB 354, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” states, “An interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, or  club athletic team or sport that is expressly designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.” It also gives female athletes the right to sue any government entity that deprives them of an athletic opportunity as a result of violating the law.  

Gov. Asa Hutchison issued the following statement in support of the law:

“Today, I have signed into law SB 354 called the ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act’. I have studied the law and heard from hundreds of constituents on this issue. I signed the law as a fan of women’s sports from basketball to soccer and including many others in which women compete successfully. This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition. As I have stated previously, I agree with the intention of this law. This will help promote and maintain fairness in women’s sporting events.”

Idaho passed such a law in 2020 (which is in litigation initiated by the ACLU), and Mississippi recently passed it. The South Dakota legislature has also passed a similar bill, but Gov. Kristi Noem has requested changes to the bill before she will sign it.

The Arkansas bill was popular in the state legislature, passing the Senate by a vote of 28-7 and the House in a vote of 75-18. Efforts to pass similar bills are ongoing in approximately 20 states, and a federal version of the law has been introduced in Congress.

Another bill of interest to the faith community awaiting the governor’s signature in Arkansas is the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act, SB 289. The law would allow healthcare personnel to refuse to perform any medical procedures, such as abortions or transgender reassignment surgery, which violate their religious, moral, ethical or philosophical beliefs. The law is opposed by pro-abortion and LGBT groups.

Living by God’s definition of male and female, and declining to perform medical procedures contrary to deeply held beliefs, are important to millions of those who profess belief in Jesus Christ and attempt to live according to His Word. Public policy that reflects that longstanding spiritual reality is necessary – and ought to be second nature – in a nation that professes to be “under God.”

Photo from FPA