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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D).YouTube screenshot

TOPEKA, Kansas (LifeSiteNews) – Kansas lawmakers have formally overridden a veto by Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly of legislation to ban gender-confused individuals from participating in sex-specific athletic teams that conflict with their actual sex, ensuring the law will take effect.

HB 2238, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports” bill, requires interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, and club athletic teams to be designated according to biological sex and prohibits biological males from participating in teams intended for women and girls. Provisions of the bill would also apply to K-12 public schools as well as post-secondary institutions.

Kelly vetoed the bill after it was passed by the legislature, claiming it would “harm the mental health of our students” and “reverse the progress we’ve made in recruiting businesses and creating jobs” by “send[ing] a signal to prospective companies that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than becoming a place where young people want to work and raise a family.”

Kelly vetoed similar legislation two other times over the past three years, but this time the legislature had the votes to override, the Associated Press reported, at 84-40 in the state House and 28-12 in the state Senate. Democrat state Rep. Marvin Robinson broke ranks with his party to deliver the final vote needed for a two-thirds supermajority.

“Over the past 50 years, females have finally been able to celebrate our differences and create a division that enabled us to achieve athletic endeavors similar to our male counterparts,” Olympic swimmer and Kansas Sports Hall of Fame member Caroline Bruce McAndrew testified in support of HB 2238.

Mandatory inclusion of gender-confused individuals in opposite-sex sports is billed as a matter of “sensitivity” and respect for perceived “gender identity.” But critics note that indulging transgender athletes in this way undermines the original rational basis for having sex-specific athletics in the first place, thereby depriving female athletes of recognition and professional or academic opportunities. Scientific research affirms that physiology gives males distinct athletic advantages that cannot be fully negated by hormone suppression.

In a 2019 paper published by the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Zealand researchers found that “healthy young men [do] not lose significant muscle mass (or power) when their circulating testosterone levels were reduced to (below International Olympic Committee guidelines) for 20 weeks,” and “indirect effects of testosterone” on factors such as bone structure, lung volume, and heart size “will not be altered by hormone therapy;” therefore, “the advantage to transwomen [biological men] afforded by the [International Olympic Committee] guidelines is an intolerable unfairness.”

HB 2238 takes effect in July.