On Tuesday, May 30th, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law House Bill 261. That bill, passed by massive margins in both the state House and Senate before Gov. Ivey signed it, bans biological men from participating in women’s college sports and biological women from competing in men’s sports.
The summary of the bill provides: “Relating to two-year and four-year public institutions of higher education; to amend Section 16-1-52, Code of Alabama 1975, to prohibit a biological male from participating on an athletic team or sport designated for females; to prohibit a biological female from participating on an athletic team or sport designated for males; to prohibit adverse action against a public K-12 school or public two-year or four-year institution of higher education for complying with this act; to prohibit adverse action or retaliation against a student who reports a violation of this act; and to provide a remedy for any student who suffers harm or is directy deprived of an athletic opportunity as a result of a violation of this act.”
The law was limited to collegiate women’s sports because Alabama already passed legislation in 2021 that bans biological boys from competing in K-12 girls sports.
Gov. Ivey proudly announced her signing the bill in a statement released by her office, saying, “Look, if you are a biological male, you are not going to be competing in women’s and girls’ sports in Alabama. It’s about fairness, plain and simple.”
Legislators stepped in to defend the bill as well. For example, Rep. Susan DuBose, the sponsor of the bill, described the pre-HB 261 paradigm as unfair and something that rolls back the progress the women’s rights movement made over decades of hard work. In her words last month during a committee hearing: “Forcing women to compete against biological men would reverse decades of progress that women have made for equal opportunity in athletics.”
Continuing, she added at the time that “no amount of hormone therapy can undo all those advantages” that a biological male who was born male will have when competing against women in women’s sports.
Predictably, the usual suspects from the “human rights” complex stepped in to attack the bill for all the usual reasons. For example, Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey, Human Rights Campaign’s Alabama state director, said, “In just two years, she and extremist lawmakers in Alabama have passed four anti-LGBTQ+ bills. From dictating what bathrooms we can use to blatantly ignoring the actual problems in women’s sports, these politicians are making Alabama an increasingly hostile place for transgender people and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.”
In passing such legislation to confine athletes to the biological sex with which they were born, Alabama joins 20 states that are trying to chart a path forward that protects women’s sports in what they think is a Constitutional way.
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