Louisiana Senate Backs Veto Override on Transgender Sports Ban

July 21, 2021 Updated: July 21, 2021

The Louisiana Senate on Tuesday backed a veto override of a transgender sports ban bill.

State senators voted 26-12 to overturn Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ rejection of a bill prohibiting transgender students from participating in school sports—the exact number of votes needed, the Associated Press reported.

If the House also approves the veto override, the bill would become law and would prohibit biological males who are transgender from competing on school sports teams of their identified gender.

Those who back the ban argue that it will protect girls across K-12 schools and colleges from unfair competition.

“Without protection, women’s sports would not exist. Nothing has changed,” said Franklinton Sen. Beth Mizell, the Senate’s second-ranking Republican. “I ask you to do what is right for the girls of Louisiana and to put the politics aside on this.”

Critics, including Gov. Edwards, have described the measure as discriminatory, as there has not yet been a reported case in the state of a transgender athlete participating on teams of their identified gender, and a similar measure for high school sports teams has already been enacted by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association.

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards talks to media in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Nov. 15, 2019. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

“I’m convinced this bill is a solution looking for a problem,” said state Sen. Jay Luneau, an Alexandria Democrat.

Democratic state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson of New Orleans warned that passage of the law could negatively impact the state’s ability to attract business and sporting events.

“You either want business to come to Louisiana, or you want to discriminate. We’re about to make a decision,” Peterson said.

The bill will be taken up by the House on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Separately this month, a group of more than 20 Republican state Attorneys General, including from Louisiana, addressed a letter to President Joe Biden opposing new “radical” guidance on access to gender-specific bathrooms.

Led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slattery, the coalition in their July 7 letter pushed back against guidance from the Biden administration on how businesses and schools regulate bathroom use by transgender individuals.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on June 15 published the legal guidance on the anniversary of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that expanded protections for LGBT employees under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In its guidance last month, the EEOC advised that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) workers cannot be required by employers to follow dress codes or use bathrooms corresponding to their biological sex. It warns that the intentional and repeated failure to use an employee’s preferred pronouns may contribute to an unlawful hostile work environment.

The EEOC’s guidance also states that an employer may not discriminate against a potential or current LGBTQ worker on the basis that clients or customers would prefer to work with those with a different gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.