Indiana Lawmakers Override Republican Governor’s Veto of Bill to Bar Men from Competing in Women’s Sports

The Indiana legislature sent a bill to the governor that would ban boys and men from competing on girls’ and women’s sports teams. But Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, refused to sign it.

He said (PDF) he vetoed the bill because it assumes that “the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met. After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.” He also doubted it would survive in the courts.

As a Republican, the governor surely knows that opponents of the law would file lawsuits even if the language of the measure were perfectly drafted to avoid the issues that concern him. Indiana lawmakers know this will be a long, litigious road, but they and others must do what they can to protect women’s opportunities to win competitions and benefit from those wins.

Some of these women and girls have trained most of their lives, and anybody with a pulse knows it’s unfair for a stronger, larger, faster man to call himself a woman and defeat female athletes.

“Women and girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Christiana Kiefer said. “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.”

Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina last week signed a similar protection bill into law. He said that girls should play girls and boys should play boys. When a reporter asked him whether he meant biological boys, he said, “Are there any other kind?”

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