Indiana lawmakers overcome veto on transgender sports

Republican lawmakers in Indiana on Tuesday banned transgender girls from playing in girls’ sports teams in their schools, ignoring Governor Eric Holcomb’s veto, saying the measure would not solve a serious problem and would sue the state.

Elimination made Indiana the last conservative state to enact legislation to block girls or transgender women from playing on sports teams that match their gender identity. Although the details of the law vary from place to place, at least 17 other states have imposed restrictions on at least 17 other states for participating in transgender sports in recent years, according to data from the LGBTQ Human Rights Campaign for Defense.

The participation of transgender girls and women in sports has become an increasingly divisive issue among political leaders and punitive sports groups, and efforts have been made to address the issue while respecting transgender sports and the concerns raised by some. about the fairness of competitiveness. This year, Lia Thomas, a member of the women’s swimming team at the University of Pennsylvania, became the first open transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming title.

Passing Indiana was no surprise. The bill passed both Republican-controlled State Houses this year, and Indiana’s repeal only requires a simple majority in the House and Senate.

“Your vote will send a clear message that Indiana will support the integrity of women’s sports,” said State Representative Michelle Davis, a Republican and former university athlete who backed the bill, before the House voted against it.

The removal was approved by a 67-28 vote in the House and a 32-15 vote in the Senate.

Across the country, transgender sports projects have attracted widespread but not universal support from Republican politicians. In Utah, lawmakers overcame Republican Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto. Officials in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah have introduced new measures this year, and have joined several others since 2020. In Kansas and Kentucky, they have vetoed bills passed by Democratic governors. Republican-controlled legislatures. There was a veto in Kansas, but Kentucky lawmakers voted to impose their restrictions in the face of the governor’s inconvenience.

Legislation on transgender issues is not limited to sports participation, with some states also providing access to a transgender restroom and child gender reassurance care.

Mr. Holcomb, a Republican in his second term, vetoed the bill in March, eagerly signing similar measures to oust several other Republican governors. If the bill, known as HEA 1041, were to become law, it would become law, Mr. Holcomb said at the time. He also questioned whether a serious problem could be solved by writing to lawmakers in a letter to “the presumption of a policy set out in the HEA 1041 that there is a problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that calls for more state government intervention.”

“It means that the goals of consistency and fairness in women’s competitive sports are not being met today,” the governor added in his letter. “After a lot of review, I can’t find any evidence to support the claim, even if I accept the general purpose.”

Many Democrats and transgender rights activists agreed with the governor and urged Republican lawmakers to uphold the veto. Opponents of the bill met before the vote at the State Palace.

“We’re spending our time making children feel bad about themselves,” said state Democratic Sen. Shelli Yoder, who was concerned that legislation could harm children’s mental health. Ms Yoder said the bill would “prove hatred and discrimination in the courts”.

Even after Mr. Holcomb’s veto, the Indiana bill retained the support of 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 defend the state from lawsuits that could arise.

“Hoosiers will not be harassed by waking groups that threaten girls’ sports,” Mr. Rokita wrote in an article published this month by local newspaper The Hamilton County Reporter.

Mr. Holcomb, who is barring the resumption of deadlines in 2024, signed a measure called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” by his supporters in 2015, and was taken over for months by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

This law was introduced as a way for religious business owners not to give cakes and flowers to same-sex marriages, but it created strong opposition, including some of Indiana’s most important businesses. It was quickly rewritten to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Mr. Holcomb, who was named governor by Mr. Pence after a backlash against the law, ran as a Republican candidate for governor in 2016 after Mr. Pence was elected as Donald J. Trump’s candidate.

During his time as governor, Mr. Holcomb has embraced many conservative policies, including a measure he signed this year that allows people in Indiana to carry handguns without permission. But at times it has taken a more moderate stance than other Republicans, frustrating some conservatives with virus reductions in the early stages of the pandemic.

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