The Republican governor has signed into law a bill that would prohibit transgender students from competing in girls' or women's sports in public schools and colleges.
On Monday, Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law the "Save Women's Sports Act" or House Bill 3477 and Senate Bill 531 with no ceremony or fanfare. R218, H4608 is a measure that would prevent trans students from participating in women's sports or girls' teams in public schools or colleges. A dozen more states have passed similar laws in the last 24 months.
According to Breitbart, Gov. McMaster took to Twitter the following day after passing the law to share that he was proud to enact the proposal to protect the youth's rights. Before the Republican majority General Assembly passed the proposal in early April, the Republican governor remarked that he believed "girls ought to play girls and the boys ought to play boys. That's the way we've always done it." But when asked if he meant biological boys, Gov. McMaster responded, "Are there any other kind?"
'Save Women's Sports Act' Aims to Protect Girls' and Women's Rights
According to the text of R218, H4608, transgender students must now compete with the "biological sex" listed on their birth certificates "filed at or near the time" of birth. Those who supported the law preventing trans students from participating in women's sports argued that transgender girls have an unfair biological advantage from having been naturally born male. They also raised concerns that femakle winners' podiums and MVP awards may be snatched by transgender athletes, impacting sports in states such as South Carolina where it is a vital part of school life.
R218, H4608 is not without its critics, however, as opponents labeled it a cruel idea to single out students who are not elite athletes but simply want to enjoy a regular student life. Ivy Hill, a leader of a coalition of over 30 LGBT rights groups, argued, "Transgender youth are not a threat to fairness in sports, and this law now needlessly stigmatizes young people who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence, make friends, and build skills like teamwork and leadership, winning and losing."
Louisiana Implements Similar Ban on Transgender Athletes Competing in Female Sports
In Louisiana, Sen. Beth Mizell's SB 44 has advanced out of the House after a 72 to 21 vote, The Advocate reported. The proposal requires athletic events and teams sponsored by a school that is federally funded to be "expressly designated, based upon biological sex." Furthermore, it would specifically indicate that athletic teams or sports events "designated for female, girls or women shall not be open to students who are not biologically female."
A similar bill passed through the Legislature in the 2021 session but was vetoed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat. While lawmakers attempted to override the veto, they failed to earn the 70 votes required for the override.