Arizona and Oklahoma lawmakers vote to ban transgender students from competing with girls
State legislators in Arizona and Oklahoma have passed legislation barring biological boys from participating in women’s sports, continuing attempts by Republican-controlled legislatures to score points against conservative voters as this year’s midterm congressional elections approach.
The Arizona and Oklahoma bills were passed Thursday, paving the way for them to become law if signed by the governors of both states. Arizona lawmakers also voted to ban doctors from performing gender reassignment surgery on children.
Supporters of the sports legislation said the bills would preserve the integrity of women’s athletics and prevent biological boys from taking opportunities, including college scholarships, from their classmates. Opponents have argued that Republicans are discriminating against transgender students by attacking a non-existent issue.
Since 2020, more than a dozen Republican-led states have passed legislation banning biological boys from participating in women’s sports. In at least two of those states, Idaho and West Virginia, new laws have been delayed due to legal issues.
However, it is unclear whether the Arizona and Oklahoma bills will become law. Neither Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey nor Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said whether he would sign the legislation. Just this week, Republican governors in Indiana and Utah vetoed bills that would ban transgender girls from participating in male sports. Legislators in the two states said they would try to override the veto.
“We urge Governor Ducey to follow the Governor’s [Spencer] Cox in Utah and Governor [Eric] Holcomb in Indiana and veto these discriminatory bills.” The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ activist group, made the announcement on Thursday. The group stated that the country’s legislators, who adopted “anti-transgender” bills were not “Give examples of what exactly they legislate against. »
However, supporters of such legislation, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, pointed to cases such as two transgender girls who dominated high school sprint championships in Connecticut, leading to lawsuits from the girls’ families who said they had took away sports trophies and scholarships. opportunities. .
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Oklahoma Senator Michael Bergstrom was among Republican lawmakers who pointed the finger at Leah Thomas, the transgender woman who won the NCAA swimming championship last week. “Women are women, and they have the right to compete with other women and have the same opportunities as men to progress in the sports they are good at.” Oklahoma Senator Julie Daniels said.