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Florida legislators passed a bill yesterday that bans males from competing in women’s sports at the high school and college levels. The legislation passed in the House 79-37 and in the Senate 23-16. The measure goes to Governor Ron DeSantis for signature and will take effect July 1.
Under the bill, student athletes’ eligibility for sports teams would be based on their biological sex as stated on their original birth certificates issued “at or near the time of the student’s birth.”
Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Kelli Stargel sponsored SB 1028, an education bill that concerns charter schools. However, Rep. Kaylee Tuck added a last-minute amendment that establishes the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”
Stargel stated this bill recognizes the physiological differences between the sexes and gives girls and women an equal opportunity to excel in sports.
“It’s not meant to be hurtful. It’s not meant to be discriminating. It’s not meant to attack any group. This is not about that. This is about sports and having competitive advantage and having the ability to compete,” said Stargel.
Florida is among several states where lawmakers have recently enacted similar legislation to protect women’s sports. Yesterday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the “Save Girls Sports Act” into law. Last week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation restricting biological male students from playing on female K-12 sports teams. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has similar legislation on his desk.
Similar bills also have been passed in recent months by Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Idaho’s Gov. Brad Little signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” last year, but a federal judge granted a motion for a preliminary injunction against it.
Liberty Counsel’s Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We commend Florida legislators for protecting the rights of girls and women to excel in sports. We look forward to Governor Ron DeSantis signing this into law. Female athletes train hard to compete and should not lose titles, records, and scholarships that are rightfully theirs and even incur serious sports-related injuries by competing against males.”