The Louisiana Senate this week passed a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in public school sporting events if they are competing against athletes who are not of their biological sex, moving in the direction of multiple states that already have passed such laws.
Senate Bill 44, named the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, "requires an athletic team or sporting event sponsored by an elementary, secondary, or postsecondary educational institution to be designated based upon the biological sex of team members."
The team must be made up entirely of "biological males," "biological females" or designated as a "coeducational or mixed team."
"Athletic teams or sporting events designated for females, girls, or women shall not be open to students who are not biologically female," the bill states.
"Louisiana citizens by a huge majority, like over 80%, believe that Fairness in Women's Sports is something that they believe in," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Beth Mizell, R, according to Louisiana Radio Network.
"Biological females placed second and third in tournaments that had been always a woman's sport. We learned that the winning teams of Olympic women's finalists could not even meet qualifying times for high school boys' sports," she said, KPVI reported.
The bill has opposition from Democrats in the legislature and from Democratic Gov. Jon Bel Edwards, who vetoed a similar bill when it was passed last year. The Senate was able to override Edwards' veto, but not the House.
Then as now, Edwards says the bill is not necessary, and is "mean-spirited."
"I would hope it doesn't reach my desk," Edwards said in March, according to KPVI. "It's pretty sad because it's theoretically a bill about unfairness, but … that unfairness, it isn't happening in Louisiana."
"But what is happening is we have some young people who have pretty severe mental illness in some cases, or I should say emotional issues and it just seems this is piling on, to me," the governor said, referring to transgender youth.
The bill goes next to the Louisiana House for consideration.
Multiple states have already passed similar bills, while legislatures in Kansas, Utah and Indiana have faced opposition from their governors when attempting such bills.
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