The Idaho Senate on Monday approved a
bill that bans transgender women and girls from playing on female
high school and college sports teams.
Senators approved House Bill 500 with a
24-11 vote. The House previously passed the legislation, but an
amendment in the Senate means a second vote in the House is needed
before heading to the desk of Governor Brad Little, a Republican.
The legislation would apply to all
publicly sponsored sports teams. Supporters said it is needed because
transgender women and girls have a physical advantage. Opponents said
that the bill would subject transgender athletes to invasive tests.
The bill, titled the “Fairness in
Women's Sports Act,” was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Mary
Souza, a Republican from Coeur d'Alene.
The bill's sponsor in the House,
Representative Barbara Ehardt, a Republican from Idaho Falls, worked
with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to craft the bill. The
Arizona-based group is opposed to LGBT rights.
According to the Idaho
Press, when asked about the bill's constitutional problems
that would make it difficult to defend in court, Senator Souza said
that the ADF “will be responsible for any legal defense fees.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called on Governor Little to
veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
“If HB 500 becomes law, Idaho will be
the first state to have such a retrogressive, invasive and patently
anti-transgender law on the books,” HRC President Alphonso David
said in a statement. “In states across the country, extreme
lawmakers are targeting transgender youth and seeking to discriminate
against them through any legislative vehicle possible. These elected
officials and the groups backing them are proposing a ‘solution’
in search of a problem – and using transgender kids as pawns to
stoke division at a time when our elected leaders should be finding
ways to unite us. If HB 500 becomes law, it will send a strong
message to trans youth that they are less than their peers and not
deserving of community and acceptance. We implore Governor Little and
other legislative leaders to stand up and reject this discriminatory