Lawmakers in Mississippi and Alabama have been debating bills concerning children who identify as transgender.
The governor of Mississippi pledges to sign a bill that would prohibit males who identify as females from participating on girls’ sports teams.
“I will sign our bill to protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities,” said Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Twitter on March 4.
“It’s crazy we have to address it, but the Biden (executive order) forced the issue,” he added. “Adults? That’s on them. But the push for kids to adopt transgenderism is just wrong.” President Biden’s Jan. 20 executive order stated that his administration will interpret federal civil rights law to protect sexual orientation and gender identity, a move critics warned would have broad implications in a number of areas including schools and sports.
The Mississippi legislature voted overwhelmingly–81 to 28 in the state House and 34-9 in the state Senate–to pass the “Mississippi Fairness Act.” Eight Democratic House representatives joined 73 Republicans to vote for the bill, while the Senate vote fell along party lines with all “yea” votes coming from Republicans.
The Mississippi Fairness Act would “require any public school, public institution of higher learning or institution of higher learning that is a member of the NCAA, NAIA or NJCCA to designate its athletic teams or sports according to biological sex; to provide protection for any school or institution of higher education that maintains separate athletic teams or sport for students of the female sex; to create private causes of action; and for related purposes.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 25 states have considered bills restricting athletes who identify as transgender from competing on a sports team aligned with their gender identity.
Only one state, Idaho, has so far signed a bill restricting athletes identifying as transgender from competing with cisgender female athletes. The law has yet to go into effect and has been stalled in the courts.