NASHVILLE (BP) – More than 25 states are considering bills to limit women’s sports to biological females, blocking men who identify as transgendered women from participating in competition.
At least five states have already passed such laws. But Idaho’s 2020 Fairness in Women’s Sports Law is on hold pending the results of a court challenge from the American Civil Liberties Union, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem partially vetoed a bill the state’s legislature overwhelmingly passed in March. Noem sent the bill back to the legislature for revision.
Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee governors signed such bills in March designed to protect women’s sports from men who identify as transgendered women. Similar bills are being considered in 27 other states, according to the advocacy group Save Women’s Sports.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a religious freedom defense group, is representing college female athletes in the Idaho lawsuit and in a similar case in Connecticut.
Proponents of the bills to protect women’s sports say biological males have a natural physical advantage over women in certain sports. Proponents say competitions among women and girls should be limited to those who are biologically female.
In addition to the bill partially vetoed in South Dakota, the advocacy group Save Women’s Sports counts similar bills in Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The state bills are in various phases of the legislative process, and have made it to the second legislative chamber in Alabama, Kansas, North Dakota, Montana, New Jersey and West Virginia, according to Save Women’s Sports. Additional legislation has been introduced at the federal level.
In signing Arkansas’ Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, Gov. Asa Hutchinson described himself as a friend of women’s sports.
“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,” Hutchinson said in a press release. “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.”
Save Women’s Sports and ADF are among about 50 groups that signed a letter urging Noem to sign South Dakota’s bill, including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, American College of Pediatricians Executive Director Michelle Cretella, Texas Values President Jonathan Saenz and Jeffrey Barrows, senior vice president of bioethics and public policy for the Christian Medical and Dental Association.