Legislators Override Veto of Transgender Sports Bill

ACLU sues to keep Indiana law from taking effect
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 24, 2022 5:05 PM CDT
Legislators Override Veto of Transgender Sports Bill
Activists rally against a bill that to ban transgender students from competing in girls sports by playing sidewalk games outside of the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday.   (Casey Smith/Report for America via AP)

Republican lawmakers in Indiana voted Tuesday to override the GOP governor's veto of a bill prohibiting transgender females from competing in girls school sports and join about a dozen other states adopting similar laws in the past two years. State senators voted 32-15 in favor of overriding Gov. Eric Holcomb following a 67-28 vote in the House to do the same earlier in the day. Holcomb had said in his veto message that the bill did not provide a consistent policy for what he called "fairness in K-12 sports" when he unexpectedly vetoed it in March, the AP reports.

The override votes were nearly party line. Four Republican senators joined all Democratic senators in voting to uphold the veto. In the House, three Republicans voted to sustain the veto, while one Democrat supported overriding it. Opponents have argued the bill is a bigoted response to a problem that doesn't exist. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit minutes after the override in hopes of blocking the law from taking effect on July 1. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a 10-year-old girl who plays on her school's all-girls softball team in Indianapolis. The new law would deny the fourth-grader the right to rejoin her team because she is a transgender girl, which is a violation of Title IX and the US Constitution, according to the complaint.

Republican sponsors maintain the bill is needed to protect the integrity of female sports and opportunities for girls to gain college athletic scholarships, but they have pointed out no instances in the state of girls being outperformed by transgender athletes. The measure "does not bring people together. It does not benefit our state in any way," Sen. JD Ford, D-Indianapolis, said shortly before the Senate vote. "Why do you press upon the government to solve this issue, which there is no issue?" Activists held a rally against the ban ahead of the votes. Dozens of attendees around the Statehouse lawn argued that Indiana's ban isn’t targeting elite athletes, but rather kids who want to play on a team with their friends. "We're here to stand against hate and discrimination that could have a lifelong impact for my family," said Cara Nimskey, the mother of a transgender girl from Bloomington.

(Read more transgender stories.)

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