South Dakota became the 10th state to ban male athletes from participating in girls’ sports in the nation and the first state to do so in 2022 on Thursday.
Governor Kristi Noem, a rising star in the Republican Party who had been criticized by conservatives for a veto on similar legislation last year, said she was “thankful” legislators were able to bring the bill, which she introduced in November as LifeSiteNews noted, to her desk.
“Thankful to see this bill get support from the legislators and make it to my desk, and that now we will ensure that we have fairness and a level playing field for female athletes here in the state of South Dakota,” Noem said, as reported by ABC News.
“This bill has been an important priority for a lot of the people behind me,” she also said, according to LifeSite, “and I appreciate all of their hard work in making sure that girls will always have the opportunity to play in girls’ sports in South Dakota and have an opportunity for a level playing field.”
The legislation had been passed in the South Dakota state Senate Tuesday in a 50-17 vote.
It bans public K-12 schools and colleges from allowing male athletes to participate on girls’ and women’s sports teams and requires athletes to verify their sex with a birth certificate.
“Only female students, based on their biological sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for females, women, or girls,” the bill states.
It also empowers students to sue schools for “direct or indirect harm” due to any violations and enables schools to sue if government entities if they are punished for refusing to allow athletes to compete on teams that correlate with their gender identity.
LifeSite notes that the South Dakota state Senate also passed legislation Tuesday that bans students from using bathroom or locker room facilities designated for members of the opposite sex.
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