Mississippi State House Passes Bill to Ban Transgender Athletes from Girls' and Women's Sports
The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Tate Reeves, who has spoken out multiple times against allowing transgender athletes in women's sports
A bill banning transgender athletes from competing on girls' and women's high school and college sports teams has passed in the Mississippi state Senate and House.
On Wednesday, the state's House voted 81-28 to pass Senate Bill 2536, "an act to require any public school, public institution of higher learning or institution of higher learning that is a member of the NCAA, NAIA, MHSAA or MJCCA to designate its athletic teams or sports according to biological sex," CNN reported.
The bill's purpose is also defined as "to provide protection for any school or institution of higher education that maintains separate athletic teams or sports for students of the female sex, to create private causes of action and for related purposes."
The House's decision came after the state's Senate voted 34-9 last month in favor of the legislation, which will next go to the desk of Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves for approval.
Reeves' office directed PEOPLE to the governor's Thursday tweet when reached for comment. In the Twitter statement, Reeves wrote, "I will sign our bill to protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities."
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He continued, "It's crazy we have to address it, but the [President Joe] Biden E.O. forced the issue. Adults? That's on them. But the push for kids to adopt transgenderism is just wrong."
Reeves also wrote, "If there's one thing that we are passionate about in the Reeves family, it's my daughters' sports," in a Feb. 4 Facebook post. "I know that the lessons learned through team sports have led to so many successful lives and careers for women and have truly helped provide a more equal opportunity for success in our world."
Reeves went on to say later in the post that he is "so disappointed over President Biden's actions to force young girls like them to compete with biological males for access to athletics," as he believes it "will limit opportunity for so many competitors like my daughters."
"It is bad policy and it is wrong for America," he continued, slamming Biden, 78, for making the issue "a priority in his first days."
In a statement to CNN, Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David denounced the bill, saying, "Today, in sending SB 2536 to Governor Reeves, Mississippi became the first state to take the plunge by passing legislation specifically attacking transgender children."
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"Mississippi is so determined to be on the wrong side of history that it is defying the evidence in favor of discrimination," he added. "There is simply no justification for banning transgender girls and women from participating in athletics other than discrimination."
Mississippi is the latest state to attempt to enact such controversial legislation. Last week, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge proposed a bill that would ban transgender athletes from playing on women's school sports teams.
Of the Gender Integrity Reinforcement Legislation Sports Act, which would ban transgender girls from athletics from kindergarten through college, Rutledge — who said she didn't know of any transgender athletes currently playing on school sports teams in Arkansas — said on Feb. 22, "We don't want common sense to be overshadowed by so-called political correctness. ... This bill will ensure the integrity of girls and women in sports."