Indiana overrides veto of anti-trans sports ban

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The Indiana General Assembly on Tuesday overrode Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s (R) veto of a bill that bars transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports.

Holcomb vetoed the bill, HEA 1041, in March because there wasn’t consistency of enforcement in the bill.

The Associated Press reported that state senators voted 32-15 to override and the state House had voted 67-28. The votes were nearly party line votes. The bill is set to go into effect on July 1.

The ACLU of Indiana has already filed a lawsuit to block enforcement. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of A.M., a 10 -year-old girl who plays on her school’s all-girls softball team.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and asserts that preventing A.M. and other transgender girls from participating in girls’ athletics is discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX, and also represents discrimination on the basis of transgender status, as well as sex, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. 

“When misinformation about biology and gender is used to bar transgender girls from school sports it amounts to the same form of sex discrimination that has long been prohibited under Title IX, a law that protects all students – including trans people – on the basis of sex and it denies the promise of the Constitution of equal protection under the law,” said Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana. “Girls like A.M. simply want to access the same opportunities as their peers and denying them that right jeopardizes their mental health and physical well-being.” 

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) condemned the override.

“My sympathy is with transgender kids in Indiana today as they watch their lawmakers – who are supposed to be working to make a better future for Indiana’s youth – instead attack a group of children for political gain.” said Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s Indiana state legislative director and senior counsel. “We saw that this doesn’t need to be a partisan issue when the governor rightly vetoed this bill and said he couldn’t find any evidence that trans kids playing sports was a problem in the state. The backers of the bill could not summon even a single example where someone was harmed or even affected as a result of trans kids participating in school sports. But transgender kids, even those who have no interest in playing sports, will be harmed by this law.

The bill is the latest of hundreds that have been introduced and passed in statehouses across the country this year.

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