South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is protecting young females in athletics by signing a bill that will ban transgender athletes from competing as females in girls’ or women’s school sports. “This bill’s about fairness,” said Noem, a Republican, during a news conference Thursday. “It’s about allowing biological females…to compete fairly on a level playing field that gives them opportunities for success,” she said.
Senate Bill 46 defends Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination in school and education programs on the basis of sex, suggests Noem. “Title IX fought for that years and years ago and I’ve been doing this for years, which started, man, almost five years ago now in the sport of rodeo, where we protected girls’ events,” Noem said last month.
The latest push for this legislation is in part over frustration that similar legislation was not passed last year. Critics accused Noem of controversially vetoing a bill last year, “sending it back to the legislature with requests to change provisions related to college sports, which she said would be unworkable for organizations that compete on a national level” reports Fox News.
Noem insists, “I did not veto a bill. What I did was, I asked my legislature for changes, and they rejected it. So immediately that very same day I put executive orders in place to protect girls’ sports.”
Opponents of the bill claim it opens up vulnerability to lawsuits from the NCAA, jeopardizing the state’s ability to hold nationally sanctioned events. However, Noem’s office states that is not a concern for them, citing other states that have taken similar action.
“Governor Noem is confident that the NCAA will not pull events,” said the governor’s Communications Director Ian Fury. “Look at the states with SEC schools that have passed similar legislation – the NCAA has done nothing to threaten their events.”
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