Indiana Lawmakers Override Transgender Sports Veto

Republican lawmakers in Indiana on Tuesday banned transgender girls from playing on all-girls sports teams at their schools, passing veto of Governor Eric HolcombOne Republican said the measure did not solve any pressing problems and left the state facing lawsuits.

The policy has made Indiana the latest conservative state to enact legislation banning transgender girls or women from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity. At least 17 other states have introduced restrictions on transgender sports participation in recent years, according to data from the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group.

Sports participation by transgender girls and women has increasingly become a divisive topic between political leaders and sports sanctioning groups, which have struggled to address the issue in accordance with the law. respect for transgender athletes and the concerns some have raised. on fair competition. This year, Lia Thomasa member of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swimming team, became the first openly transgender woman to win the NCAA swimming title.

The Indiana pass was not a surprise. The bill has passed both Republican-controlled Houses of State by huge margins this year, and the Indiana override requires only a simple majority in the House and Senate.

“Your vote sends a clear message that Indiana will protect the integrity of women’s sports,” said State Representative Michelle Davis, a former Republican athlete who sponsored the bill. know just before the House votes to pass it.

The pass was passed with 67-28 votes in the House and 32-15 votes in the Senate.

Across the country, transgender sports bills have drawn broad but unpopular support from Republican politicians. In Utah, legislators overrode the veto by Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican. Officials in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah enacted the new measures this year, joining several others that have done so since 2020. In Kansas and KentuckyDemocratic governors have vetoed similar bills passed by Republican-controlled legislatures. Kansas’ veto standbut Kentucky legislators voted enact their restrictions on the governor’s objections.

Transgender issues legislation is not limited to participation in sports, with some states also targeting transgender people. go to the bathroom and gender affirmation care for children.

Mr. Holcomb, a Republican for a second term, vetoed the bill in March, setting it apart from many other Republican governors who enthusiastically signed similar measures. Receipt, called HEA 1041Mr Holcomb said at the time that it would likely be challenged in court if it became law. He also questioned whether it was addressing any pressing issues, write letters to legislators that “the policy assumption outlined in HEA 1041 is that a problem exists in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further state government intervention.”

“It implies that the goals for consistency and fairness in competitive women’s sports are currently not being met,” the governor added in his letter. “After careful consideration, I have found no evidence to support either statement even if I support the overall objective.”

Many Democrats and transgender rights advocates agreed with the governor and urged Republican lawmakers to uphold the veto. Opponents of the bill gathered at the Statehouse before the vote.

“We are spending our time making kids feel bad about themselves,” said State Senator Shelli Yoder, a Democrat. that she worries that the law could harm children’s mental health. Ms. Yoder predicts that the bill’s “hate and discrimination will be proven in court of law.”

Even after Mr. Holcomb vetoed, the Indiana bill still received support from many of the state’s most powerful Republicans. Attorney General Todd Rokita repeatedly praised the measure, which he said would ensure a level playing field for young athletes, and vowed to protect the state from any possible litigation.

“The rebels will not be bullied by wake-up groups that threaten girls’ sports,” Rokita wrote this month in an article. Published by The Hamilton County Reportera local newspaper.

Mr. Holcomb, whose term limits prevent re-election in 2024, came to power in Indiana a few months after Governor Mike Pence signed into law a measure his supporters called “”Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in 2015.

That law was introduced as a way to protect religious business owners from having to provide cakes and flowers for same-sex weddings, but it has drawn backlash, including from some prominent businesses. Indiana’s most famous. It was quickly rewritten to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Mr. Holcomb, who was appointed lieutenant governor by Mr. Pence following backlash to the legislation, became the Republican nominee for governor in 2016 after Mr. Pence was selected as co-op. Donald J. Trump’s candidacy.

During his time as governor, Mr. Holcomb adopted many conservative policies, including a measure he signed this year that allows people in Indiana carry a handgun without a license. But he has sometimes taken a more moderate stance than other Republicans, much to the chagrin of some conservatives Limit the virus in the early stages of the pandemic.

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