Kentucky becomes 15th state to ban boys from women’s sports
Kentucky passed a law that bars biological men from participating in women’s sports, with the Republican-controlled legislature overriding Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto.
Known as Senate Bill 83, or the “Women’s Sports Equity Act,” the legislation would state that students can only participate in sports that match their birth gender.
The student-athlete’s biological sex would be determined either by their original birth certificate or by an affidavit from certain medical professionals.
Although Beshear vetoed the bill last week, the veto was overridden by the state legislature on Wednesday, with a 29-8 vote in the Senate and 72-23 in the House.
The American Principles Project, a conservative group that has advocated for similar legislation in other states, released a statement celebrating the reversal of the governor’s veto.
“Kentucky lawmakers made the right decision in overriding this veto to protect their state’s female athletes,” said APP President Terry Schilling.
“We commend them for championing fair conditions for women and girls, and we continue to encourage leaders in other states without such protections to join this rapidly growing movement to protect women’s sport.”
The Kentucky Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union denounced the overriding of the veto, with spokesman Samuel Crankshaw saying the new law “violates students’ constitutional rights to equal protection and privacy.”
“It also violates Title IX of the Civil Rights Act by imposing a complete ban on transgender girls participating in sports consistent with their gender identity,” Crankshaw said in a statement.
“Similar bans have been blocked in federal courts in Idaho and West Virginia. A challenge to include trans girls has been rejected in Connecticut.
In his veto message last week, Beshear argued that the new law was unnecessary because of pre-existing standards enforced by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
These standards, as noted by the governor, require student-athletes to participate in sports that match the gender listed on their birth certificate, with some exceptions for students who undergo a “gender reassignment after puberty” in taking cross-sex hormones.
“KHSAA approached the issue of transgender sports participation with nuance, collaboration and a sense of fairness that would allow transgender children to participate in sports without upsetting the competitive balance,” Beshear said.
“KHSAA policy requires that a student-athlete who has undergone a gender reassignment after puberty receive hormone therapy in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient duration to minimize the benefits of competitive sex, and if the student- athlete stops taking hormone therapy they must participate in sport according to their birth gender.
With the veto power overturned, Kentucky becomes the 15th state to pass a law banning biological men from participating in women’s sports. The other states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.