Florida has become the latest state in the union to pass legislation restricting sports for women and girls at public schools to strictly biologically female athletes.
On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville.
The Republican leader said the legislation, which he strongly supported, will help ensure a level playing field for female athletes as they pursue athletic and educational opportunities.
“[Sports] took me to college. It’s taken many of our girls to college, to be able to get an education and to compete. We believe that it is very important that the integrity of those competitions are preserved,” he said, as Fox News reported.
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act will empower Florida women & girls to be able to compete on a level playing field. This will help ensure that opportunities for things like college scholarships will be protected for female athletes for years to come.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 1, 2021
The bill also provides the legal structure for female athletes to say they have been discriminated against to pursue civil suits.
“We’re also putting in statute ways to actually vindicate the rights of any women athletes who may be discriminated against. Moving forward, any student who’s deprived of an athletic opportunity as a result of a violation of this law will have a right to civil remedies,” the governor said.
The bill was signed on June 1, which marks the beginning of what has in recent decades been regarded as “Pride Month” by the LGBT community.
DeSantis’ political opponents, including Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Democrat Nikki Fried, who Fox notes is considered to be a potential contender for governor, called this move “cruel.”
“By signing a heartless ban on transgender kids in sports, @GovRonDeSantis is marginalizing an entire community. Signing it on the first day of #Pride2021 is especially cruel. Florida should stand for inclusivity, equality, and liberty — not peddling hate for political points,” she declared on Twitter.
By signing a heartless ban on transgender kids in sports, @GovRonDeSantis is marginalizing an entire community.
Signing it on the first day of #Pride2021 is especially cruel.
Florida should stand for inclusivity, equality, and liberty — not peddling hate for political points.
— Commissioner Nikki Fried (@NikkiFriedFL) June 1, 2021
Florida now joins the states of Akransas, Mississippi, and West Virginia, which have passed similar legislation as a record number of proposed bills across the nation grapple with this issue.
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