A bill to ban biological males who identify as female from competing in girls’ and women’s sports in Iowa is now headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
House File 2416 passed Iowa’s Senate 31-17 along party lines on Wednesday less than two weeks after succeeding in the House in a 55-39 vote.
The signed bill would make Iowa the 11th state to approve a law to keep biological males who identify as female from competing on the athletic teams of girls and women. Reynolds pushed for the bill in 2021, but the effort failed to pass during the previous year’s session.
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia have passed similar laws. Idaho’s law is currently on hold due to a legal challenge.
“I think at the end of the day it’s the responsibility and legislature to make sure that we are protecting girls’ sports,” Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley said in February. “And I just think that again, that’s something that this bill is able to achieve that in a very clear manner following the path of a lot of other states.”
Republican State Sen. Jesse Greenesaid also spoke out in support of the bill.
“We send a message to the nation that Iowans will not put common sense aside for wokeness,” Greenesaid said. “In the midst of an ongoing culture war Iowans are taking bold steps to preserve the integrity and purity of athletic competition for generations to come.”
Critics have accused the bill of discriminating against transgender students, which could lead to legal concerns in the state.
“This bill discriminates against students and singles out school employees and faculty for punishment,” Mike Beranek, president of the Iowa State Education Association, the statewide public educators union, said in a statement. “It is a hateful attempt to intimidate both students and the education professionals helping them succeed.”
South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem signed her state’s transgender sports bill last month, which bans biological males from competing in girls’ and women’s sports. The bill, SB 46, is designed “to protect fairness in women’s sports,” and includes provisions for college athletics.
“One way a young girl exercises her liberty is on the fields and in the gyms of South Dakota: playing basketball, swimming competitively, and running track, just to name a few popular sports here in the Mount Rushmore state,” the governor said in the statement.
“It is in playing sports that a young girl can learn how to achieve and how to succeed. But some in our society want to take those opportunities to succeed away from our young women. Some schools and organizations across the country have sought to take away their freedom to achieve by changing the rules of the games,” she added.
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