Indiana’s Republican-dominated legislature is poised to override the GOP governor’s veto of a bill banning transgender female students from participating in women’s sports, which would mean Indiana would join more of a dozen states that have passed similar laws in the past two years.
Indiana’s proposal was approved by wide margins in both the House and Senate before Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb in March vetoed the measure, saying it failed to provide cohesive policy. for what he called “fairness in K-12 sports.”
Opponents of the Indiana ban have said the bill is a bigoted response to a problem that doesn’t exist. They say they have little hope that enough lawmakers will change their votes to block the veto, which only requires simple majorities in the House and Senate.
The bill’s Republican sponsors argue it is necessary to protect the integrity of women’s sports and opportunities for girls to earn college athletic scholarships, but have not reported any cases in the state. transgender athletes outperforming other girls.
Activists have planned a rally at the Statehouse against the ban ahead of Legislature votes scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana said it intended to file a lawsuit against what it called “hate legislation” in hopes of preventing it from going into effect as scheduled on 1 July.
Holcomb’s veto came a day before Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox vetoed a similar ban on the grounds that such laws target vulnerable children who are already at high risk for suicide. Republican lawmakers in Utah overturned the veto days later amid a flurry of such laws that political observers describe as a classic “corner question” to rouse conservative supporters.
In her veto letter, Holcomb pointed to the Indiana High School Athletic Association, which has a policy covering transgender students wishing to play sports that match their gender identity and said no transgender girls had finalized an application. to play in a women’s team. The law would not prevent students who identify as transgender women or men from playing on men’s sports teams.
Holcomb said in his veto message that the bill assumes “there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further intervention by the state government,” but that it does not found no evidence to support this claim “even though I support the overall effort.”
Associated Press writer Tom Davies contributed to this report.
Casey Smith is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to report on underreported issues. Follow Smith on Twitter.