Democratic Louisiana gov. vetoes bipartisan transgender sports bill
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, June 25, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) rejected bipartisan legislation on Tuesday that would ban gender-confused males from competing against women and girls.
Gov. Edwards suggested that the bill, which protects female athletes from having to play against naturally stronger male competitors, was “discrimination” and called it “a solution in search of a problem,” the Associated Press reported. Edwards, a self-professed Catholic known for laxity on pro-family issues, vowed in April to reject the measure.
Senate Bill 156, or the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, requires public schools to designate sports teams based on biological sex and explicitly states that “teams designated for females are not open to participation by biological males.”
“Scientific studies have established that the benefits that natural testosterone provides to male athletes is not diminished through the use of testosterone suppression,” it says, adding that “[h]aving separate sex-specific teams furthers efforts to promote sex equality.”
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Beth Mizell, would prohibit government entities and athletic associations from retaliating against schools that adhere to sex-based standards in sports. Female students impacted by violations of the bill would be able to sue for damages.
Lawmakers passed the bipartisan Fairness in Women’s Sports Act with veto-proof margins last month, approving it 29-6 in the state senate and 78-19 in the house. The bill won the backing of over a dozen Democrats, including three who co-sponsored it.
Louisiana’s regular legislative session is over, but GOP House Speaker Clay Schexnayder on Tuesday called for a special session to try to override Gov. Edwards’ veto. Senate President Page Cortez (R-Lafayette) has not declared his position, local newspaper Houma Today reported.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R) also endorsed a veto session, slamming the governor’s “disrespect for women by vetoing this bipartisan bill” as “both disappointing and irresponsible.” “With growing support from citizens and legislators all across the state, the Louisiana Legislature has the opportunity to right this wrong,” Landry said on Wednesday.
If the legislature does convene a special session, it would be held in late July, according to Houma Today. It is unclear whether the bipartisan coalition that supported Senate Bill 156 will hold together after the veto.
Adoption of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act would make Louisiana one of several states this year to enact broadly popular laws to protect women’s sports against transgenderism, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Similar measures are pending in Wisconsin and Ohio, among other states. Texas also could revive a sports fairness bill killed by Republican leaders last month in an upcoming special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott (R).
The unprecedented wave of state-level rebukes to the transgender movement has come amid threats of retaliation by the NCAA, which Gov. Edwards emphasized in his statement on Tuesday, as well as pushback by top companies and the Biden administration. Warnings from the NCAA that it will pull games out of states that refuse to comply with pro-transgender policies nevertheless have largely failed to materialize.
Liberal athletic rules, like those embraced by the NCAA and other athletic associations, have cost female athletes numerous titles and opportunities in recent years, as gender-confused males have swept women’s athletic championships across the country.