Tuesday's final approval by Indiana legislators was given to a Republican-backed bill banning transgender girls and women from participating in school activities that are compatible with their gender identity. It will be sent to the governor for his decision.
The vote of the state Senate was 32-18 in favor , which was largely voted along party lines. Opponents claim that it is unconstitutional and sexist. If Republican Gov. If Eric Holcomb signs this bill into law, Indiana will join at minimum 10 other GOP-led States that have adopted such bans.
After Tuesday's passage of the bill, the governor's office refused to comment.
Holcomb said last week that would be waiting to see the final version before making a decision. Holcomb stated that he agreed that boys should play boys sports and that girls should play girls sports. Mixed sports refers to someone's sexual experience at birth.
The governor also referred to the Indiana High School Athletic Association's (IHSAA) policy on transgender students. It has never had transgender girls request to be a part of a girls' team. The bill's initial draft applied the ban to college athletes. However, the final bill removed language that referred to postsecondary intuitions.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association and the IHSAA did not immediately respond to our requests for comment.
Seven Republicans voted against the bill along with all 11 Democratic senators. These GOP senators included Ron Alting from Lafayette, Eric Bassler of Washington, Phil Boots of Crawfordsville and Liz Brown of Fort Wayne. Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso. Chip Perfect of Lawrenceburg. Greg Walker of Columbus.
Senator Stacey Donato from Logansport is the bill sponsor. She said that the proposal would preserve the integrity of female sport.
Donato stated that regardless of whether there are 100 or one transgender student participating in school sports, all students will be able play sports. They just have to compete against peers with the same biological sex.
Opponents claim that the bill targets transgender youth in an unfair way and that it is a solution to a problem which doesn't exist.
Paul Neidig, IHSAA Commissioner, stated that the association received and approved one application from a transgender student to take part in school sports -- a boy who wanted cross-country running.
Democratic Senator J.D. stated that "this bill isn’t about fairness...it’s about being in a position to waive this bill back in your district, and saying that you have done something on this subject." Ford of Indianapolis stated Tuesday that the bill is meant to score political points at the expense transgender children.
American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana said that it would sue against "hateful legislation" should it become law. Katie Blair, the advocacy and public policy director of the ACLU of Indiana, stated in a statement Tuesday, that the legislation was "hateful, harmful and appears to violate federal law" and the Constitution.
Blair stated that the bill discriminates against trans girls by prohibiting them from participating in girls' sport, jeopardizing both their mental and physical health, as well as their ability to access education opportunities comparable to their peers. We will continue fighting for Indiana where trans youth feel loved and are treated equally.
Corrine Youngs was previously a policy director and legislative counsel for Attorney General Todd Rokita. She testified that Rokita's bill protects "the incredible progress made by women in athletics," adding that if challenged, "we'll defend it in court."
K-12 students who are male but identify as female at birth would be prohibited from participating in any sport or team for women or girls. It wouldn't stop transgender men and boys from participating in men's sporting teams.
Greenwood Republican Michelle Davis, who co-authored the bill, stated that it was intended to promote fair competition in girls' sports.
Christy Stutzman , a former Indiana Republican Rep., proposed similar legislation for 2020. However, the bill was not approved by the House education committee.