February 26, 2024

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Fairness in Women’s Sports Act becomes law

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After three years of attempts, the full legislature has overridden Democrat Governor Laura Kelly’s veto of the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”

The Kansas Legislature has passed the bill three times but until now it had failed of override in at least one house.

The House voted 84-40 to override and the Senate vote was 28-12.

According to the Sunflower State Journal, Democratic Rep. Marvin Robinson of Kansas City was the deciding vote which provided the two-thirds majority needed for overriding Kelly’s veto in the House.

Senator Renee Erickson, (R-Wichita) carried the bill in the Senate, and said in a release she was pleased by its passage.

“Now that the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will become law, Kansas will be able to uphold Title IX and protect fair play for Kansas girls, as it has done for 50 years,” Erickson said. “Today is truly a victory for all women.”

The bill simply requires that athletes compete on teams or in individual sports based upon their biological sex, rather than gender expression.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer — who advocated for the bill — said passage was necessary to protect women.

“We commend the Kansas Legislature for securing a level playing field for Kansas’s female athletes by overriding Gov. Kelly’s misguided veto of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act. When the law ignores biological differences, women and girls bear the brunt of the harm,” she said. “As we continue to witness increasing incidents nationwide of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions, it’s imperative to affirm that biology, not identity, is what matters in athletics.”

Indeed, as the Sentinel reported last year after the failed override attempt, NBC News reported on a British study that found that even after a year of hormone replacement — which most transgender minors are not receiving — transgender athletes retain their advantages over biologically female athletes.

Moreover, a comparison between 2016 male finalists for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championship — an elite track and field tournament for the best Jr. high and high school competitors in the country — and the 2016 women’s Olympic track and field finalists found that, in many cases, the women’s gold medalists would not have even qualified to enter the boys’ competition.

Indeed, more recently the World Athletics Council, the governing body for international track and field said it will bar transgender women from elite competitions for female athletes.

According to NPR, the policy, now in effect, mainly targets athletes who transitioned from male to female after puberty.

“The council said they ultimately decided to prioritize ‘fairness and the integrity’ of the female competition over inclusion,” the NPR story reads. “Though the council says there are no transgender athletes currently in international track and field competition, the ruling could hinder several people who’ve won Olympic medals in the past.”

Senate President Ty Masterson agreed that fairness had to come before inclusion

“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is about just that – fairness,” he said in a release. “It simply sets guidelines that ensure the fair playing field continues for women and girls that we have recognized for decades.”

Keifer concurred.

“Kansas now joins a strong coalition of states that have acted to preserve fair competition for all female athletes, whether in grade school or in college, ensuring they will not face the losses that come with allowing males to compete in women’s sports,” she said. “We are grateful for the Kansas Legislature’s persistence in working to enact these critical protections. Thanks to their strong stand, female athletes in Kansas will have equal opportunities to pursue their dreams.”

 

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