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PHOENIX (LifeSiteNews) – Arizona senators this week voted to ban males who identify as “transgender” from competing in women’s K-12 and college athletics, joining a growing list of state lawmakers who are pushing back on transgender ideology in sports.

The state Senate passed the Save Women’s Sports Act, or SB 1165, with a 16-13 vote Wednesday.

SB 1165 requires public K-12 schools and private schools with students who compete against public schools to designate sports based on biological sex. Teams or sports designated for “females,” “women,” or “girls” “may not be open to students of the male sex,” under the measure. The bill does not apply to gender-confused biological females seeking to join boys’ and men’s teams.

SB 1165 prohibits government entities or athletic associations from retaliating against schools for enforcing the act. And students who lose athletic opportunities or suffer “any direct or indirect harm” due to violations of the bill can sue their schools for damages.

Students can also bring civil lawsuits against schools or athletic associations that punish them for reporting violations. Schools can take similar action against sports associations or public entities.

All Republicans voted in favor of the Save Women’s Sports Act, which now heads to GOP-controlled state House. No Democratic senators supported it.

“This bill protects our daughters and our granddaughters,” said Republican Senate Judiciary chairman Warren Petersen during a recent hearing on SB 1165. “It’s absolute lunacy to think that it’s OK to allow a male to dominate in a female sport.”

It’s not clear whether Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, will approve the bill. Ducey has previously supported homosexual adoption and last year vetoed legislation that would have restricted pro-LGBT content in public schools.

“Transgender” athletes in Arizona are currently allowed to compete based on gender identity, regardless of biological sex, with approval from the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA).

The enactment of SB 1165 would make Arizona the 11th state with a statutory ban on biological males in women’s and girls’ sports. South Dakota enacted a similar sports fairness bill Thursday, and the Indiana House approved one last month.

The issue has sparked outrage in recent years as males who say that they’re “transgender,” backed by pro-LGBT athletic associations like the NCAA, have taken numerous championship titles in women’s sports across the country.

In Connecticut, two “transgender” males have claimed 15 women’s state championship titles and more than 85 athletic opportunities since being allowed to compete against girls in 2017. The state’s fastest girl in the 55-meter dash has lost four championships and two all-New England awards to the gender-confused men, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

Studies clearly show that males’ innate physical advantages allow them to dominate females in athletic competitions, regardless of transgender hormone drugs.

“The benefits that natural testosterone provides to male athletes is not diminished through the use of testosterone suppression,” SB 1165 notes. “A recent study on the impact of such treatments found that policies like those of the International Olympic Committee requiring biological males to undergo at least one year of testosterone suppression before competing in women’s sports do not create a level playing field.”

Another bill in the Arizona Senate, SB 1045, would criminalize providing minors with transgender hormones or “gender transition” surgeries as felony offenses.