BISMARCK, N.D. (ChurchMilitant.com) - North Dakota's legislature has nixed its opportunity to protect women's sports from biological men.
Yesterday, the Republican-dominated State Senate voted 28–19, four short of the 32 required to override the governor's veto of House Bill 1298. The bill would have barred so-called transgender females from competing with biological women in K-12 sports. Previously, the state House voted to override the veto 68–25.
Before the Senate vote, four speeches from Republican lawmakers defended the athletic restrictions — the most vocal being Edinburg Republican senator Janne Myrdal, who cosponsored the bill.
"If the [North Dakota High School Activities Association] NDHSAA adopts the policy preferred by this administration and the activists, remember that it forces our children, our parents and our schools to affirm, allow, cooperate and, yes, even celebrate a gender ideology that they might not agree to," she said.
HB 1298 had initially passed both houses last week but stopped in its tracks after Republican governor Doug Burgum broke partisan lines and vetoed it Wednesday. He claims there is no evidence to support the legislation's premise that women's sports are in danger.
"North Dakota today has a level playing field and fairness in girls' sports," he said in praise of the existing policies under the NDHSAA. "We have every confidence that they will continue to ensure a level playing field for the 27,000 students who participate in North Dakota high school sports."
Although there are currently no gender-bending athletes seeking to join a women's sports team in North Dakota, critics say the bill is a preventative measure — citing several instances of biological males dominating female athletes in other states.
But, LGBT groups took the governor's side — praising the governor's decision.
"House Bill 1298 was never about leveling the playing field for student-athletes. It was obvious from the beginning that this discriminatory legislation was about creating solutions to problems that don't exist and, in the process, harming some of the most vulnerable people in our state," said Libby Skarin, campaign director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Similar bans on transgender athletes competing in women's sports are being debated nationwide. More than 30 states have taken up legislation to restrict their participation in state-sponsored sports leagues.
As of now, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas have similar rules officially on the books. Meanwhile, South Dakota similarly dealt with a veto last month from Republican governor Kristi Noem — a veto the state legislature failed to override, much like its counterpart to the north.
In 2004, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith authoritatively spoke on the dangers of promoting gender ideology — writing in its "Letter on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World" that "male and female are thus revealed as belonging ontologically to creation and destined therefore to outlast the present time, evidently in a transfigured form," noting also that "there can be no true promotion of man's dignity unless the essential order of his nature is respected."
If, however, Republicans remain divided on the issue of including so-called transgenders in women's sports, then there will be little, if any, opposition to fight against this intrinsically disordered social doctrine, which denies the Christian belief that God makes people male and female.