The Indiana legislature has overridden a governor veto on a bill that bans transgender athletes from women’s and girls’ sports, making it the latest state to pass such legislation.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed the ban in March, but this week the Republican-controlled Statehouse successfully overrode the veto.
Both chambers of the state House had already passed the bill by wide margins earlier this year, and each needed only a simple majority to override Holcomb’s veto attempt.
At the time, Holcomb said that the bill “implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met,” according to Just the News. “After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.”
After the legislature successfully passed the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) promptly filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of a 10-year-old male athlete who identifies as a female and plays on a girls’ softball team.
The objection of transgender athletes in women’s sports has been a top rallying point for conservative lawmakers over the last year, following several years of growing concern that male athletes on women’s and girls’ teams pose a disadvantage to the female athletes as well as safety and privacy issues.
University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas has brought this conversation into the mainstream after blowing away the competition in collegiate matches swimming against female athletes.
The NCAA has been criticized by female athletes and their families for failing to enact policy changes which would have ensured more fairness for Thomas’ competitors.
Indiana’s successful legislation was praised by conservative legal firm the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has represented female athletes fighting for fairness in sports.
“We commend the Indiana legislators who took a stand for female athletes by overriding this veto, and we are hopeful they will act quickly to extend these protections to collegiate athletes, especially since the NCAA has failed in its duty to preserve fair and equal opportunity for women,” said ADF Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer.
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