The Mississippi House voted Wednesday to ban biological males from competing in girls’ or women’s sports in the state’s schools and universities.
The bill heads to Republican Gov. Tate Reeves in the next several days, and he is expected to sign it into law.
Mississippi is one of more than 20 states with lawmakers proposing such measures this year.
Democratic President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 20 — the day he took office — that bans discrimination based on “gender identity” in school sports and elsewhere.
“Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field,” Republican Rep. Becky Currie said before the Mississippi House. “Allowing males to compete in girls’ sports destroys fair competition and women’s athletic opportunities.”
The House voted 81-28 to pass the bill. Six representatives did not vote, and seven voted “present,” which counts neither for nor against the bill.
The Republican-controlled state Senate passed the bill 34-9 on Feb. 11, with five senators not voting and four voting “present.”
The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune, said “numerous coaches” had called her asking for such legislation.
Brandon Jones, Mississippi policy director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a Feb. 25 statement that the proposed ban on biological males in girls’ and women’s athletics is “reckless and hurtful to Mississippi students.”
“Transgender collegiate athletes should be allowed equal opportunities to play any sport they choose as their authentic selves and reap the same benefits, just like any other student,” Jones said.
In response to Biden’s executive order on Feb. 4, Reeves tweeted: “I am so disappointed over President Biden’s actions to force young girls … to compete with biological males for access to athletics. It will limit opportunity for so many competitors like my daughters. It is bad policy and it is wrong for America.”
It is also why I am so disappointed over President Biden’s actions to force young girls like them to compete with biological males for access to athletics. It will limit opportunity for so many competitors like my daughters. It is bad policy and it is wrong for America.
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) February 4, 2021
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