The Kentucky Legislature, after overriding Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto last week, succeeded in enacting the law banning transgender people from playing on women’s sports teams. According to NBC News, Kentucky is now the sixth state this year and the 15th state overall to enact the law.
The veto override passed the Senate by a vote of 29-8 and the House by 72-23, immediately giving way to signing the bill into law.
The new law states that, to compete in sports, a student’s gender will be determined by the “biological sex” indicated on the birth certificate “as originally issued at the time of birth or adoption,” Fox News reported.
The Kentucky law requires public and private schools with interscholastic athletics administered by the state board to “designate all athletic teams, activities and sports for students” in grades 6-12 as “boys,” “coed” or “girls,” CNN reported.
This measure ensures that female athletes compete in sports only with “biological females,” Republican Senator Robby Mills told Fox News.
“It would be overwhelming for a young woman to train her entire career to end up competing against a biological male in the state tournament or state finals,” Mills said during pre-debate on the bill.
According to Governor Beshear, the legislature did not present “one case” in Kentucky of anyone gaining a competitive advantage due to a “sex reassignment.”
Robby Mills explained that the law protects the integrity of women’s sports and that the Kentucky legislature supports female athletes everywhere “as they work hard to achieve their goals and dreams.”
Beshear, who vetoed the bill last week, justified his move because it “most likely” violates the Constitution because it “discriminates against transgender children,” according to CNN.
Arguments over transgender athletes have generated numerous cultural and scientific debates after Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, became the first transgender athlete to compete in and win an NCAA championship last month, the News reported.
Riley Gaines, who swam against Thomas in an NCAA championship race, was invited to enact the law as one of the cases.
“I know I speak for the majority of female athletes in all NCAA sports when I say that biological men should not compete against women,” Gaines said.
“It is crucial that the NCAA open its eyes and recognize the irrefutable damage being done to everything Title IX stands for: equity, fairness and creating opportunities for women to succeed at an elite level and in life.”
In January, the NCAA instituted a policy that allows each sport’s national governing body to determine its own rules. The International Olympic Committee adopted similar guidelines last year.