MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Republican Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday signed legislation restricting transgender students from participating in K-12 sports, making Alabama the latest conservative state to ban transgender girls from playing on female sports teams.
Ivey’s office announced in an email that she had signed the bill that says a public K-12 school “may never allow a biological male to participate on a female team.” Asked if the governor had a comment on the decision, spokeswoman Gina Maiola said she could confirm the governor signed the bill but did not elaborate.
Supporters of the bill, HB 391, say transgender girls are born bigger and faster and have an unfair advantage in competition. Opponents argue the bills are rooted in discrimination and fear, and violate the federal law barring sex discrimination in education.
“HB 391 is nothing more than a politically motivated bill designed to discriminate against an already vulnerable population. By signing this legislation, Gov. Ivey is forcefully excluding transgender children. Let’s be clear here: transgender children are children. They deserve the same opportunity to learn valuable skills of teamwork, sportsmanship, and healthy competition with their peers,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a statement.
The Alabama House voted 74-19 for the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Scott Stadthagen of Hartselle. The Alabama Senate voted 25-5 for the legislation.
“I want to thank Governor Ivey for her leadership and for protecting the rights of Alabama’s female athletes. Standing up for what is right is not always easy, but it is always the right thing to do,” Stadthagen said Friday.
During Senate debate on the bill last week, Republican Sen. Garlan Gudger of Cullman said it is “unfair for biological males to compete and beat females in high school sports.” He said the bill is needed to… (Read more)