South Dakota Senate on Monday afternoon passed bill HB 1217 by a vote of 20-15 to prevent transgender people from participating in girls’ sports in public schools and public universities.
Governor Kristi Noem indicated shortly after the bill was passed that she will sign the bill into law.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” Noem said on Twitter.
The bill is titled “Promote Continued Fairness in Women’s Sports” and was passed in the House on Feb. 24. It was introduced by Rhonda Milstead, a Republican member of the South Dakota House of Representatives, and Maggie Sutton, a Republican state senator.
The bill states that “a team or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex.”
Opponents say the bill will discriminate against transgender girls and transgender women and violate the U.S. Constitution and civil rights laws. Supporters argue that transgender girls naturally have an advantage over those born female.
Milstead said it’s not about “excluding anyone from sports.”
“This is about including everyone because, for every girl that doesn’t get to play basketball because some male took her place, you’ve displaced that girl,” Milstead said when the State House was discussing the bill, according to the Rapid City Journal.
Over 20 states have introduced similar legislation. Idaho was the first to pass such a ban. A federal judge halted Idaho’s ban in August 2020. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear the appeal in May.
Mississippi legislators passed a similar bill last Thursday, and Gov. Tate Reeves announced he would sign it into law.
“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.”
On his first day in the White House, President Joe Biden signed an executive order titled “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.”
“Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports,” the order states.
GQ Pan contributed to this report.