Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Bill to Bar Men From Competing Against Women in Sports

Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act into law last month. Save Women’s Sports reported that the new law “keeps sports separated on the basis of sex, not gender identity.”

Among the people present to witness the signing was Selina Soule, who, along with other high school female track runners, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and a federal lawsuit against Connecticut over its policy that allows boys to compete on girls’ teams.

In a PragerU video, Soule said that she used to be one of the top five female sprinters in the state…until the state allowed two males pretending to be girls to run against girls.

Thirty-seven states have introduced bills in 2021 to protect fair competition for women in sports, and eight states have passed laws: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Idaho became the first state in 2020. Governor Brad Little signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act into law, but a federal judge blocked it. The Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge David C. Nye said the law that protects the integrity of women’s sports is likely unconstitutional, and the matter comes down to whether the government requires men to take testosterone suppression drugs for a year before competing against women. A British sports journal concluded that men still outperform women even after taking suppression drugs for a year.

Republicans in the U.S. Senate tried to protect women’s sports, though they didn’t have the 60 votes to pass the amendment to the budget bill. The measure would have barred federal funds available under Title II to states and government educational institutions that allow men to compete with women in athletic programs or activity designated for women. Save Women’s Sports reported that the amendment received 49 yeas, 50 nays, and one abstention.

South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem refused to sign her legislature’s fairness in sports bill and suggested “style and form” changes. She said she was concerned that the bill as written “would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota. And it would actually prevent women from being able to participate in collegiate sports. So what I have done is I have asked the legislature … to change the bill.” After the legislature refused to make the changes, the governor issued executive orders to protect women’s sports.

As it turned out, the NCAA’s threat to boycott states with laws to protect women’s sports was empty. The organization released a list of states where 16 NCAA women’s softball tournaments would be held. Among them were Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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