In an unexpected move, Republican Governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana turned down a contentious bill to stop transgender girls from participating in school-female sports. This decision has thrown him at odds with the line followed by the party on a similar issue in eleven other states.
Eric Holcomb explained his decision in a letter, saying the proposed bill left too many unresolved issues. He also expressed his opposition to the need of the state to intervene in such cases. He said it infers that there are no consistent laws in meeting the objectives of fairness and consistency in female sports. He said that he found no proof to support the opposing claim even though he was supportive of the larger goal of the bill.
Governor Eric Holcomb also pointed out that the proposed bill would come up against legal challenges. Even before the measure was introduced, a lawsuit was filed in a federal court involving an Indiana middle school that disallowed a male transgender from participating in the boys’ team.
Eric Holcomb Move Comes Even As 147 Discriminatory Bills Introduced In 2021
Holcomb said that any bill introduced should instead address the matters brought up in the lawsuits. Holcomb’s conclusion comes amid new measures by several states aimed at transgender athletes.
Civil rights groups have pointed out that 147 bills have been introduced across the nation in 2021 that are biased against transgenders in fields like sports and health care linked to gender affirmation.
11 states have signed bills prohibiting transgender girls from competing in girls’ sports, including Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum had vetoed an identical bill in April last year. The reasons he cited were akin to those noted by Eric Holcomb. He had noted that there had not been one incident of any transgender girl entering a girls’ team in North Dakota.
Republican lawmakers have lashed out at Eric Holcomb’s move saying that the transgender bill would have introduced equal competition in girls’ sports. But Katie Blair of ACLU in Indiana said that the governor’s move was prompted by massive opposition to the bill. Blair said that there was no place for discrimination in Indiana.