South Dakota became the first state this year – and the tenth across the country – to pass legislation making it safe to be a girl athlete. Senate Bill 36, “An Act to protect fairness in women’s sports,” was passed by the state Senate with a vote of 26 to 7 and by the House with a 50 to 17 vote.
The other states where it is safe for girl and women athletes to compete, without unfair competition from male-bodied athletes who believe they are females, are Idaho, Montana, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Florida.
Signed into law by Governor Kristi Noem on February 3, the South Dakota Fairness Act allows only females – based on their biological sex – to participate in girls and women’s interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural and club sports. If a school district or institution of higher education violates the law and allows a biological male to compete in women’s sports, the law allows girls and women to file a lawsuit against the district or institution.
The state might go even further to protect girls, as House Bill 1005 is also making its way through the legislature. This bill would “provide for the designated use of public school multi-occupancy rooms and sleeping rooms.” It allows schools to continue with single-sex showers, changing rooms, and restrooms, protecting girls from those private places being accessed by boys who claim to be girls.
Family Heritage Alliance, a South Dakota organization allied with Focus on the Family, encouraged its constituents to support HB 1005 and said, “Our children should not be put in uncomfortable and unsafe situations because of woke identity politics.”
The legislation also mandates that overnight sleeping accommodations may only be used by members of the same sex. Students who don’t want to use the single sex sleeping accommodations, restrooms or showers that accord with their biological reality may ask their school administrator for a reasonable accommodation.
As we recently published, other states such as Indiana, Arizona and Pennsylvania are looking at similar legislation to make states safe for girl athletes. The Focus on the Family-allied Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) recently wrote that its legislation to keep the state safe for girls and women just passed the Senate.
In a recent email, CAP wrote, “The Arizona Legislature has been in session less than a month and already one CAP-supported bill has passed the full Senate and heads to the House for consideration. Senators passed the Save Women’s Sports Act Wednesday on a party line vote, starting this session off strong.”
But there are many other states jumping on this bandwagon.
David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation in Kentucky, a Focus on the Family ally, told us that the issue is active in Kentucky, with bills filed in both the House and Senate. House Bill 23 and Senate Bill 83 would require the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and Board of Education to implement regulations “to designate all interscholastic athletics based upon the biological sex of the students eligible to participate” and “prohibit male students from participating in girls athletics.”
The Family Foundation said, “Women deserve to compete on a level playing field. Allowing males to compete in women’s sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities.” The organization added, “A male’s belief about his gender doesn’t erase his physical advantages over female athletes.”
Walls hopes the proposed legislation will have a hearing soon.
In South Carolina, the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” House Bill 4608, has been introduced and referred to the Committee on Education and Public Works. The bill would allow female students to participate in male sports, but it would close female sports teams to male participants.
Palmetto Family is a Family Policy Council working “to see a South Carolina where God is honored, religious freedom is preserved, families thrive and life is cherished. Palmetto Family President Dave Wilson said the legislation was one of eight priority items for the organization, stating, “We kept hearing the same thing over and over again. These are the issues that are most important to South Carolinians.”
While some of these bills have been challenged by radical activist groups, they are a step toward keeping girls and women safe.
We’ll update you about this legislation – and bills in other states – as they make their way through the legislature and to governors’ desks.
Related articles and resources:
The Family Foundation (Kentucky)
Family Heritage Alliance (South Dakota)
Palmetto Family (South Carolina)
Photo from Facebook.