The state House voted 81-28 on Wednesday to pass the Mississippi Fairness Act, which cleared the state Senate last month by a vote of 34-9. The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Tate Reeves, who announced his intent to sign it.
“I will sign our bill to protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities,” the Republican governor wrote on Twitter. “It’s crazy we have to address it, but the Biden EO forced the issue.”
“Adults? That’s on them. But the push for kids to adopt transgenderism is just wrong,” Reeves added.
Once signed into law, the Mississippi Fairness Act will require any public school and university that is a member of the Mississippi High School Activities Association and NCAA, among other interscholastic sports conferences, to designate their athletic teams as male, female, or co-ed on the basis of biological sex, restricting athletes who are born male from joining female teams.
In addition, student athletes who are deprived of an athletic opportunity or suffer any direct or indirect harm as a result of a violation of the legislation are entitled to a “private cause of action for injunctive relief, damages and any other relief available under law” against their school.
Acknowledging the “inherent differences between men and women,” the legislation explains that male-born transgender athletes have physical advantages over their biological female competitors despite attempt to suppress male hormones.
“Even after twelve months of hormonal therapy, a man who identifies as a woman and is taking cross-sex hormones had an absolute advantage over female athletes and will still likely have performance benefits over women,” the bill reads, citing a recent study.
Mississippi is among more than 20 states where lawmakers are pushing for restrictions on transgender athletes in girls and women’s sports, according to the Associated Press. A number of the proposed legislations are in response to President Joe Biden’s executive order, which states that children should be able to “learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports.”
Miguel Cardona, who was confirmed earlier this week as the new U.S. Secretary of Education, also said during his Senate confirmation hearing that he believes it’s the right of male-born students to compete in girls’ sports.