Iowa Governor Signs Restrictive Transgender Sports Bill | WJHL

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Thursday signed into law a bill barring transgender women from participating in high school girls’ sports and women’s athletics, dismissing the argument of the opponents that it would harm vulnerable children to solve a non-existent problem. .

Reynolds signed the bill in a ceremony on Capitol Hill just a day after lawmakers sent it to his office. It passed the House and Senate with Republican support alone.

The Republican governor called the signing a celebration of the victory of women’s sports.

“No amount of talent, training or effort can outweigh the natural physical advantages that men have over women. It’s simply a fact of human biology,” Reynolds said. “Forcing women to compete with men is the opposite of inclusiveness and it’s absolutely unfair.”

Carlisle High School Senior Ainsley Erzen, who set the state track record for 800 meters and appeared at committee meetings to support the bill, said the law would protect female athletes.

“Girls in Iowa today and all generations to come will be able to pursue the things they love to the best of their abilities,” Erzen said. “Whether it’s chasing after titles, records, scholarships or winning a place in a team. No girl will be sidelined in her own sport.

When a reporter asked Reynolds to give the example of a girl being outmatched by a transgender athlete, the governor didn’t offer a specific case but maintained the restrictions were necessary.

Republican leaders made the bill effective immediately, so any transgender student playing sports can be required to stop immediately. It was not known how many students it would affect, but it is thought to be only a handful in Iowa.

“Because the legislation would go into effect as soon as the governor signs it, it shows once again that she is more interested in scoring political points than worrying about the impact of the legislation on some of the most vulnerable children. marginalized from our society,” the Senate said. Democratic Leader Zach Wahls.

The bill requires students participating in interscholastic sports sponsored or sanctioned by an accredited non-public school or public school district to play only with others who match the gender listed on their birth certificate. It also contains provisions allowing civil suits to enforce the intent of the law. The bill applies to sports from elementary school through state universities and colleges.

Lobbyists for school boards, school administrators and teachers said the bill places educators and administrators in an untenable position of choosing to follow new state law or federal law that prohibits discrimination based on gender in sporting activities.

Des Moines Public Schools spokesman Phil Roeder said it was not immediately clear how schools should enforce the law. The district’s lobbyist opposed the bill because he believes the legislation discriminates against transgender girls and women and the district fears it will conflict with federal anti-transgender laws. -discrimination.

“Our school district welcomes and supports LGBTQ students and provides them with the opportunities they deserve,” he said.

Iowa Department of Education spokeswoman Heather Doe confirmed that the agency did not provide guidance to schools, but acknowledged that the bill went into effect immediately.

Mark Stringer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, denounced the law, saying it “violates the civil rights of transgender girls and women” in Iowa.

“Today the State of Iowa has bought into unsubstantiated myths about transgender girls and women participating in sports — myths fueled by ignorance and fear,” Stringer said.

Iowa will join 10 other GOP-led states with such laws. Some have faced legal challenges alleging violations of constitutional rights and federal non-discrimination laws.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services agency told lawmakers the state could lose federal funds if authorities find it violates federal civil rights laws. The agency also said the bill could conflict with rules for participation by university, college and college sports organizations, risking loss of eligibility and media rights or competition hosting revenue. The bill can also cost state court costs.

Becky Smith, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, an LGBTQ advocacy group, held a transgender flag behind lawmakers and girls from multiple schools who were with Reynolds as she spoke and signed the bill. Smith said the law will “open up a gigantic tidal wave of lawsuits against various school districts across the state when transgender students are reminded that they have a federal right to protection under the law.”

South Dakota Governor Krisi Noem signed a similar ban in February.

Other states with similar laws include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and Texas, all passed last year. Enforcement of a 2020 law in Idaho is on hold after a federal judge ruled it would likely be ruled unconstitutional.

A West Virginia judge last July issued an order allowing an 11-year-old transgender girl to compete in girls’ cross country, saying state law passed last year violated her constitutional rights and a federal law which guarantees the equal treatment of men and women. women in education and sports programs.

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