A controversial bill that would prevent transgender girls and women from competing in women’s sports in Pennsylvania has passed the state House Education Committee.
House Bill 972, referred to by supporters as the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” passed the committee on party lines in a 15-9 vote.
The bill is described by lawmakers as “an Act providing for sport activities in public institutions of higher education and public school entities to be expressly designated male, female or coed; and creating causes of action for harms suffered by designation.”
The act would restrict players to male or female teams based on their reproductive organs, biology or genetics at birth, according to the Associated Press, and give students a route to sue if they feel harmed by violations of that rule.
The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was introduced last April by five Republican lawmakers including Reps. Barb Gleim (R-Cumberland), Dawn Keefer (R-York/Cumberland), Martina White (R-Philadelphia), Stephanie Borowicz (R-Clinton/Centre) and Valerie Gaydos (R-Allegheny).
“Right now, thousands of girls across our Commonwealth are looking to us, to leaders, desperately asking for someone to take a stand. They have already lost opportunities and been left to grapple with uncomfortable, painful, and difficult situations because no one in authority has been willing to defend them,” says Rep. Gleim. “We have the opportunity to be a voice for these girls and to protect the hard-won benefits of Title IX for generations of women to come. I am asking for your vote and support to make a difference for women in sports, the benefits of which follow these girls throughout their life.”
We reached out to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office and received the following response:
“The governor has been clear – hate has no place in Pennsylvania, and that includes discrimination. Any legislation designed to deny opportunities is both disturbing and dangerous. Transgender individuals should know that they belong, that they are valued, and that their participation in activities is welcomed.”
Gov. Wolf has vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.