By Mary Margaret Olohan
Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf promised Tuesday to veto a proposed ban on biological males in women’s sports.
“I’ll veto this discriminatory ban if it reaches my desk,” the governor said in a Facebook post Tuesday. “To Pennsylvania’s trans youth: You belong. You are valued. Participate in the school activities that make you happiest. I’ll be cheering you on.” (RELATED: Arkansas Legislature Defies Governor, Becomes First State To Ban Trans Surgeries For Minors)
The governor’s post referred to House Bill 972, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which Republican lawmakers introduced Monday.
“The opportunity for girls to compete on a level playing field must be protected,” Republican lawmakers, led by Pennsylvania state Rep. Barbara Gleim, said in a February press release. “Title IX was designed to stop discrimination and create equal athletic opportunities for women. However, allowing biological males to compete in girls’ sports reverses nearly 50 years of advancement for women.”
“Having separate biologically-specific teams, which Title IX protects, furthers efforts to promote women’s equality,” the lawmakers continued. “We are introducing the Save Women’s Sports Act to protect opportunities for women and girls in athletics by ensuring women are not forced to compete against biological males playing on women’s sports teams.”
Wolf did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation. His press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger told the the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Monday that “hate has no place in Pennsylvania,” calling the legislation both “disturbing and dangerous.”
Gleim, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, said during a press conference Tuesday that “there’s never a bad time to protect the opportunity for girls and women who deserve to compete on a level playing field,” according to the Post Gazette. (RELATED: Arkansas Gov. Faces Criticism For Vetoing Bill Banning Trans Surgeries For Minors)
“In complete contrast, allowing biological males to compete in girls and women sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities,” she added.
The Pennsylvania bill mirrors similar legislation introduced across the country in states such as South Dakota and Arkansas.
Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Arkansas’s Fairness in Women’s Sports Act into law last week, while South Dakota’s bill was thrust into the national spotlight when Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem refused to sign the legislation without her suggested changes. (RELATED: Here’s Why Noem Fought South Dakota’s Bill Banning Biological Males From Women’s Sports)
Hutchinson later drew fire this week for vetoing a bill banning transgender surgeries and procedures for minors. The state legislature over rode his veto Tuesday, making Arkansas the first state to ban the procedures for minors.
“As I said in my veto statement, I fully expected the veto override since there was overwhelming support on the bill’s passage the first time,” Hutchinson said Tuesday. “I do hope my veto will cause my Republican colleagues across the country to resist the temptation to put the state in the middle of every decision made by parents and health care professionals.”
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