In a party-line vote of 219-203, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 734, the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023.” The measure preserves girls and women’s athletics in schools that receive federal funds.
H.R. 734 amends Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, which prohibited discrimination based on sex in education. The measure applies to athletic programs and activities, stating:
For the purposes of this subsection [of Title IX], sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.
Pro-woman, pro-family groups praised the bill’s passage by the House.
The Family Policy Alliance tweeted, “GOOD NEWS: The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act PASSED in the House!”
GOOD NEWS: The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act PASSED in the House!
— Family Policy Alliance (@family_policy) April 20, 2023
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has been at the forefront of fighting to protect girls and women’s sports. Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer said:
Girls shouldn’t be spectators in their own sports. The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act reaffirms the vital protections for women’s sports guaranteed by Title IX, ensuring that women and girls truly have equal athletic opportunities.
Women fought long and hard to remedy inequality in athletics, and allowing males to compete in girls’ sports reverses 50 years of advances secured for women under Title IX.
ADF has fought hard to maintain the integrity of girls and women’s sports. The legal aid organization currently is fighting on behalf of three young women who were deprived of honors and opportunities when “the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference adopted a policy that allows males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletic events.”
One of those athletes is Selina Soule, who applauded the bill’s passage, saying:
I was forced to compete against two biological males in track and field in Connecticut. I want to ensure no other girl experiences the emotional pain and lost opportunities I experienced in high school. There are clear biological differences between men and women, and I experienced that firsthand, which is why I’m very grateful for the U.S. House passing this bill.
Today is another important step forward in protecting athletic opportunities for women and girls in Kentucky and across the nation.
Biology matters and female athletes deserve a fair and level playing field. As University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines experienced firsthand, when males are allowed to compete in girls’ sports, they take championships, recognition, and opportunities that belong to female athletes.
Twenty-one states now protect girls and women’s athletics in education.
Organizations that oppose safeguarding women and girls athletics, privacy and safety came out strongly against H.R. 734. They frame such protections as “bans on transgender athletes,” denying the reality of biological differences between males and females. Even if a man identifies as a woman in his mind, he still uses his male body in athletic competitions, giving him a real advantage in strength and speed.
The ACLU is one organization that opposes female-only sports, locker rooms and restrooms. The group tweeted it’s displeasure, saying that Congress was “legislating hate” and denying transgender-identified students “the chance to play with their peers is unfair and unconstitutional.”
School athletics are a critical opportunity for every student — including transgender girls.
Denying them the chance to play with their peers is unfair and unconstitutional.
Take action and tell Congress to stop legislating hate.https://t.co/VPi44hlFYH
— ACLU (@ACLU) April 20, 2023
The ACLU is incorrect, as courts have held it constitutional to keep sex-segregated activities and spaces.
The National Education Association (NEA) also opposes protecting girls and women’s sports. NEA President Becky Pringle tweeted, “Discrimination has no place in our society. HR 734 is a dangerous attempt to erase transgender children from sports and public life.”
Discrimination has no place in our society. HR 734 is a dangerous attempt to erase transgender children from sports and public life. By legalizing discrimination, the bill violates our fundamental rights and values and weakens our democracy.
— Becky Pringle (@BeckyPringle) April 20, 2023
Of course, no one is being erased. The legislation simply acknowledges that men and women are different, and those differences matter in sports. Transgender-identified individuals may still compete according to their biological sex.
It will be difficult for H.R. 734 to become law, as the bill now moves to the Senate, and the President has vowed to veto the legislation if passed.
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