On Monday, the Idaho State Senate passed a controversial bill preventing biological males from competing on school sports teams that match their gender identity by a 24-11 vote.
According to the Idaho Press, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was introduced in the House earlier this year by Rep. Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls), passed through the House State Affairs Committee and was sent to the Idaho House floor in February.
As we reported at the time:
“Boys and men will not be able to take the place of girls and women in sports because it’s not fair. We cannot physically compete against boys and men,” Ehardt told East Idaho News earlier this week.
“The inherent biological, scientific advantages that boys and men have over girls and women,” she added, “even if they were to take hormones, even if they were to spend a couple of years on estrogen, that’s not going to replace the inherent biological advantages that boys and men have.”
“Those biological boys, those men, can still compete (in sports), it will just have to be with those who look like them, that have the same large heart and lungs,” she continued.
Ehardt also declared that her bill is decidedly not anti-LGBTQ and that she has worked with and trained many LGBTQ athletes during her extensive tenure as a basketball coach.
“This has nothing to do with an anti-LGBT agenda. This is all about providing the opportunity for girls and women to continue to compete just as our counterparts, boys and men, are able to compete,” Ehardt said.
Sen. Mary Souza (R-Coeur d’Alene) offered hearty debate in favor of the bill ahead of the vote. “We are not trying to do anything except save women’s sports for girls and women. It is in the state’s interest,” Souza told her fellow state senators. “There is a third-party group that has been working with us on this bill and it will be responsible for any legal defense fees.”
“So is there a problem now?” Souza asked. “Not in Idaho. Although there was a young man on a track team in eastern Idaho who decided a year ago that he wanted to run on the girls team. He was on the boys track team, and he wanted to sign up for the girls track team. And he thought about it, talked to the coach and made a decision not to do that. I don’t know any of the details, but that’s what the outcome was. It’s coming. The issue is in states across the country.”
The bill now returns to the House for concurrence in amendments added by the Senate. If approved there, the bill will head to the desk of Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, to be signed into law.
According to the Idaho Press, the following senators voted in favor of the bill: Sens. Agenbroad, Anthon, Bair, Bayer, Brackett, Burtenshaw, Cheatham, Crabtree, Den Hartog, Grow, Harris, Heider, Hill, Lakey, Lent, Lodge, Martin, Mortimer, Patrick, Rice, Souza, Thayn, Vick, and Winder.
If you are an Idahoan, consider reaching out to these senators to thank them for voting to protect the future of women’s sports.
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