Two more states have taken action in recent days to advance the cause of fairness in women’s sports. Indiana’s legislature has overridden a veto by the state’s governor of a bill that would protect women’s sports in elementary and high schools by allowing only actual biological girls to participate. And in Louisiana, the legislature has for the second time passed a bill to protect women’s sports at all educational levels, after a previous bill last year was vetoed by the governor.
In Indiana, the common-sense House Bill 1041 (HB 1041) makes clear that: “A male, based on a student’s biological sex at birth in accordance with the student’s genetics and reproductive biology, may not participate on an athletic team or sport designated under this section as being a female, women’s, or girls’ athletic team or sport.”
Passed by strong majorities in both chambers of the Indiana legislature, Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed it in March. Meeting in a special session on May 24, the legislature voted to override the governor’s veto by a vote of 67-28 in the House and 32-15 in the Senate.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a public interest law firm that has been at the forefront of defending women’s sports, applauded the Indiana legislature’s veto override.
“Women and girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. We are grateful to the Indiana Legislature for responding to the nationwide threat to fairness in women’s sports by overriding Gov. Holcomb’s misguided veto of HB 1041,” ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer said in a press release. “While more work must be done to protect Indiana’s female athletes in college, overriding this veto is an important step towards ensuring fairness in women’s sports.
“Indiana now joins a growing coalition of states that have acted to preserve fair competition for female athletes, ensuring Indiana’s girls will not face the losses that come with allowing males to compete in women’s sports. We commend the Indiana legislators who took a stand for female athletes by overriding this veto, and we are hopeful they will act quickly to extend these protections to collegiate athletes, especially since the NCAA has failed in its duty to preserve fair and equal opportunity for women.”
Indiana is the 17th state to protect women’s sports from unfair competition from biological males claiming to be female.
Louisiana could become the 18th, if Governor John Bel Edwards signs Senate Bill 44 (SB 44) which was just passed by both chambers of the state legislature. Known as the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” the ban on males playing in female sports extends from elementary to collegiate institutions.
Bel Edwards, a Democrat, vetoed a similar bill passed by the legislature last year, which came up a couple votes shy of the supermajority necessary to override the veto. This year, however, the legislature appears to have the votes necessary to override any veto the governor issues.
Gov. Bel Edwards has not indicated whether he will again veto this year’s bill, although The Associated Press reports he recently told listeners on his radio show that, “I still believe it’s unnecessary.”
Since last year’s veto, however, the country watched as Lia Thomas, an unranked male collegiate swimmer, started competing and dominating in women’s competitions, including an NCAA championship in the 500-yard freestyle in March.
Keeping men’s and women’s sports separate and providing for a level playing field (pun intended) based on sex was a large reason why Congress passed Title IX in 1972. It is ironic that transgender politics are undoing much of what the women’s movement accomplished. The law, which recognizes the value of male and female distinctives, provides for equal opportunities in education for both sexes.
Indiana and Louisiana’s legislatures recognize the importance of providing opportunities for their state’s females and should be applauded for their latest successes. More states should duplicate their efforts.
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