South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said she will sign a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports at public schools.
According to KOTA TV State Rep. Rhonda Milstead introduced the bill which passed the state’s senate by a 20-15 vote on Monday, clearing the way for the bill to make its way to Noem to sign.
“In South Dakota, we’re celebrating #InternationalWomensDay by defending women’s sports! I’m excited to sign this bill very soon,” Noem wrote on Twitter on Monday.
— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) March 8, 2021
“We anticipate that when Governor Noem signs the bill, South Dakota will be the first state this year to pass legislation of this sort,” a spokesman for Noem told Fox News.
Republican State Sen. Maggie Sutton, one of the primary sponsors of the legislation said the bill is not against transgenders “it’s a bill to protect women’s sports.”
The ACLU of South Dakota opposed the bill and sent advocacy manager Jett Jonelis to testify against it.
“In an attempt to ‘level the playing field,’ House Bill 1217 excludes an entire group of women and girls from meaningful participation in sports,” Jonelis said according to KOTA TV. “House Bill 1217 isn’t about protecting fairness in women’s sports. It’s about erasing and excluding trans people from participation in all aspects of public life.”
At least 20 states are considering this type of legislation in the coming months, according to NPR. In March, Mississippi lawmakers already passed an identical bill banning transgender athletes from participating in girls’ and women’s sports teams.
The bill comes weeks after President Joe Biden, during his first day in office issued an executive order calling for schools to allow students to compete in sports under the gender identity they choose.
When White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by a reporter what Biden’s message was to school officials tackling the disputes regarding transgender and cisgender girls competing together, particularly for college scholarships, Psaki defended President Biden’s executive order and said “the president’s belief is that trans rights are human rights.”
“And that’s why he signed that executive order,” she said. “And in terms of the determinations by universities and colleges, I would certainly defer to them.”