Kansas Senate approves bill banning transgender athletes in girls’, women’s school sports

Published: Mar. 17, 2021 at 8:36 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Senators voted late Wednesday to approve a bill banning transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s school sports.

Their vote was 24 to 10. The bill now heads to the House.

Gov. Laura Kelly, D-Kansas, has derided the proposal, backed by conservative Republicans, as “regressive.” Kelly said before Wednesday’s vote that the policy would make it more difficult to recruit businesses to the state.

Supporters dismissed her criticism. The measure was a priority for top Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Republicans in Congress and more than 20 state legislatures are pushing for similar bans. Supporters argue it would preserve fairness in women’s and girls’ sports. Critics say it is discriminatory, would lead to bullying, and is not needed.

Moments after the vote, Senate Democratic Leader Dinah Sykes issued a statement, calling the bill the most extreme example of “legislation rooted in bigotry and cruelty” championed by Republican leaders.

“Our kids deserve compassionate government and leadership, and tonight the Senate has failed them in their duty to provide that,” Sykes said. “Trans youth are seeing how little their elected representatives value their lives and contributions to our state. I am heartbroken for them.”

However, the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas called the vote a “victory” for girls in Kansas.

“Courts have consistently held that there are differences between men and women that matter in select instances. Athletics is one of those instances. Girls desire a fair playing field. That is all this bill provides,” Brittany Jones, Esq., FPA’s Director of Advocacy said. “To every female athlete – this is a declaration that there is a place for you to shoot for the stars in Kansas.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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