Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt signed a bill barring transgender athletes from participating in girls’ high school or college sports on Wednesday, March 30th.
The Save Women’s Sports Act passed in the Oklahoma House by a vote of 79-18 a week prior to being signed, and was approved by the state Senate soon after.
“This bill…to us in Oklahoma is just common sense,” Stitt, a Republican who is running for reelection this year, said during the signing. “When it comes to sports and athletics, girls should compete against girls. Boys should compete against boys. And let’s be very clear: That’s all this bill says.”
The legislation reads in part, “athletic teams designated for ‘females’, ‘women’ or ‘girls’ shall not be open to students of the male sex.”
Opponents of the bill denounced the law, claiming that it was contrary to federal civil rights law.
“Ultimately, SB2 violates the United States Constitution and federal civil rights law, puts Oklahoma at risk of losing federal funding, and harms transgender youth, all to solve a problem that does not exist,” Tamya Cox-Toure, head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Oklahoma chapter, said in a statement.
With Governor Stitt’s signature, Oklahoma is now the thirteenth state to pass a ban on the participation of “transgender” athletes in women’s sports.
On Friday, March 25th, the Utah legislature passed a similar bill by overriding Governor Spencer Cox’s veto earlier last week. Cox, a Republican, claimed that the state’s bill was disproportionate given that just four students out of roughly 75,000 student athletes in the state are transgender.
“Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships,” Cox wrote in the letter explaining his veto.
Indiana governor Eric Holcomb, also a Republican, vetoed similar legislation in his own state last week. Attempting to explain his decision, Holcomb claimed that the legislation could face lawsuits and that the authority governing Indiana high school athletics had not found “a single case of a male seeking to participate on a female team.”