The Republican-controlled Indiana legislature voted to overturn Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto and enact a bill barring boys from participating in girls’ sports.
According to ABC News, the legislature initially passed the bill in March, which stated boys could not compete in girls’ sports in the state’s K-12 schools regardless of what gender the boys may identify themselves as.
Although Holcomb is a Republican himself, he disagreed with the bill, which was overwhelmingly supported by Republicans in both chambers of the state legislature.
Holcomb said he agreed with an assessment from the Indiana High School Athletic Association that the bill “does not address inconsistencies about enforcement across different counties and school districts and will cause confusion and litigation against schools,” ABC News reported.
In his veto letter in March, Holcomb said the bill would likely fall victim to lawsuits — just as similar legislation in other states had.
“Any bill brought forward should address the issues raised in these lawsuits,” Holcomb wrote.
However, most state Republicans felt the bill fairly addressed the issue of protecting girls’ and women’s sports in the state.
In Indiana, the state House and Senate require only a simple majority to override a governor’s veto. Seventy-one of the 100 House members are Republican, as are 39 of the 50 Senate members, ABC News reported.
Prior to the vote on overriding the veto, state Rep. Michelle Davis, a former college athlete, spoke about the bill’s importance.
Do you support legislation banning boys from playing in girls’ sports?
Yes: 100% (252 Votes)
No: 0% (0 Votes)
“Your vote will send a clear message that Indiana will protect the integrity of female sports,” Davis said, according to The New York Times.
The House voted 67-28 to override the veto, with the Senate voting 32-15. This means the law will be implemented starting on July 1, ABC News reported.
Democrats have characterized the new law as an attack on transgender children.
“By passing this bill, Indiana legislators have exposed trans kids to additional exclusion and mistreatment,” ACLU of Indiana public policy director Katie Blair said.
“This legislation is hateful, harmful and appears to violate federal law and the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, Davis said the bill is actually aimed at protecting girls who wish to compete in sports against other girls who do not have an inherent biological advantage over them.
“I want to make sure that all the opportunities are provided for our young females and we protect the fair competition for them, so they have all those possibilities,” Davis said at a January hearing, according to ABC News.
According to a June 2018 article from the Houston Chronicle, men have multiple biological advantages over women when competing in sports.
Men have bigger bones, which allows them to create more leverage and support more muscle. They also have a higher ratio of muscle mass to body weight, meaning they can reach peak speeds that are much higher.
While surgery and/or hormone therapy may be able to reduce some of these advantages, there is no research suggesting these processes can completely eliminate the inherent athletic advantages men have over females.
With the passage of the law, Indiana became the 17th state to enact some sort of restrictions on boys competing in girls’ sports, the Times reported. Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Utah have all implemented such restrictions since the beginning of 2022.