Going against Republican leanings, Indiana governor vetoes transgender sports bill

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday vetoed a bill that would have banned transgender girls from participating in school-sanctioned girl’...


Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday vetoed a bill that would have banned transgender girls from participating in school-sanctioned girl’s sports, taking a radically different approach to the issue than 11 other Republican governors. who have signed similar measures in recent years. .

Mr. Holcomb said that the invoice, known as HEA 1041, would likely have been challenged in court. He also asked if this solved an urgent problem, writing in a letter to lawmakers that “the presumption of the policy set forth in HEA 1041 is that there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further intervention by the state government”.

“It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in women’s competitive sports are currently not being achieved,” the governor added in his letter. “After extensive review, I find no evidence to support either claim, although I support the overall objective.”

The sport participation of transgender girls and women has become an increasingly contentious topic among political leaders and sports sanctioning groups, who have fought the issue in a way that respects transgender athletes and addresses concerns raised by some critics. on competitive fairness. Last week, Lia Thomasa member of the University of Pennsylvania women’s swim team, became the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming title.

Since 2019, state lawmakers across the country have introduced dozens of bills banning transgender youth from participating in school sports on teams consistent with their identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT advocacy group.

In October, Texas became the most populous state to ban transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in public schools. Republican governors signed similar measures into law in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

The bill in Indiana, where the Republican-controlled legislature passed it with comfortable margins, was cheered by some conservatives in the state. After it was passed, Republican State Attorney General Todd Rokita called it a “significant step in protecting youth sports.”

“We welcome the opportunity to defend this law if it is challenged in court,” Rokita said.

Democrats and transgender activists have widely criticized the rush of legislation as cruel and unnecessary. Some of them praised Mr. Holcomb for his veto, even as they feared Indiana lawmakers might overturn it.

“Governor Holcomb did the right thing tonight by vetoing a bill that would only cause problems, not solve them, targeting Indiana’s transgender children and making them targets of exclusion and discrimination in their own schools,” said State Legislative Director Cathryn Oakley. and Senior Advocate for the Human Rights Campaign.

Ms Oakley warned that “Indiana’s transgender students are not off the hook yet”. With a majority vote in both the House and Senate, lawmakers could override Mr. Holcomb, a second-term governor who is barred by term limits from running again in 2024. The bill passed by large majorities in both chambers.

Mr. Holcomb came to power in Indiana within months of the then government. Mike Pence enacted a so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” in 2015.

The law was touted as a way to stop religious business owners from providing cakes and flowers to same-sex weddings, but it sparked fierce opposition, including from some of Europe’s biggest businesses. Indiana. It was quickly rewritten to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Mr. Holcomb, whom Mr. Pence appointed lieutenant governor after the backlash of the Religious Freedom Act, stepped in as the Republican candidate for governor in 2016 after Mr. Pence was chosen as Donald J.’s running mate. .Trump.

During his tenure as governor, Mr. Holcomb adopted many conservative policies, including a measure he signed monday allowing Indiana residents to carry handguns without a license. But he has at times taken a more moderate stance than other Republicans, frustrating some conservatives with viral restrictions in the early stages of the pandemic.

Across the country, many Republicans have passed laws restricting transgender sports participation, but Mr. Holcomb is not alone in his party in rejecting such measures.

Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota, a Republican, vetoed a similar bill a year ago. And in Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox, also a Republican, is expected to veto a bill that would have banned young transgender athletes from participating in women’s sports.

Mr Cox said he was caught off guard on March 4 by lawmakers from his own party when they approved a last-minute version of the bill and circumvented negotiations with Democrats and rights activists. transgender people, who had spent weeks working on a compromise.

After lawmakers approved the legislation, Mr. Cox addressed the transgender community at a press conference, saying, “We care about you. We love you. It’s going to be OK. We’ll get through this together. »

Julie Bosmann contributed report.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Going against Republican leanings, Indiana governor vetoes transgender sports bill
Going against Republican leanings, Indiana governor vetoes transgender sports bill
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