Biological males are now banned from women’s sports in Indiana after lawmakers overrode the governor’s veto of the legislation.
Rep. Michelle Davis, sponsor of the bill, told fellow lawmakers ahead of the override, “Your vote will send a clear message that Indiana will protect the integrity of female sports.”
Republican lawmakers in the state soundly rebuked Gov. Eric Holcomb who had vetoed the bill which was written to protect women athletes.
The Indiana law will prohibit K-12 students who were born male but who identify as female from participating in a sport or on an athletics team that is designated for women or girls.
The override was applauded by proponents of women’s sports.
Holcomb, a Republican, was accused of bowing to LGBT activists when he vetoed the legislation in March. It had passed with majority support in both chambers of the state legislature. In a veto letter (pdf), he said the legislation opened the state to lawsuits and that he found “no evidence” that there was an “existing problem.” The governor has run afoul of the state’s residents after he also refused to say “no” to a question asking if the state should change its name because it may offend because of its link to native Americans.
Republican lawmakers rebuked his decision with 67 votes to 26 in the House, and 32 votes to 15 in the Senate even though it only required a simple majority.
In putting the bill forward, proponents argued it was needed to protect the integrity of female sports and opportunities for girls to gain college athletic scholarship.
But Holcomb thought the “wide-open nature” of the grievance provisions in the bill that apply to all K-12 schools in the state “makes it unclear about how consistency and fairness will be maintained for parents and students across different counties and school districts.”
His critics pointed out that is an issue for any bill passed by any elected body across the nation and should not preclude the effort to protect women’s sports.