The Alabama and North Dakota Legislatures approved bills to ban transgender girls from playing on female sports teams on Thursday.
Alabama governor Kay Ivey and North Dakota governor Doug Burgum have not indicated if they will sign their states’ respective bills.
The Alabama Senate approved the state’s bill 25-5, while the House approved some minor changes by 76-13.
“I believe that this bill is important, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, to protect the integrity of women’s athletics,” Republican senator Garlan Gudger said before start of debate on the bill. “I think it is an unfair for biological males to compete and beat females in high school sports. There are biological advantages that men possess just naturally because of genetics.”
State Democrats said the bill could become a target of lawsuits and that organizations including the NCAA could pull major events from Alabama, offering the same justification that Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem cited in refusing to sign similar legislation in her state. The city of Birmingham is expected to host the NCAA’s March Madness in 2023, an event that could bring millions of dollars in revenue to the area.
“Frankly speaking, given everything that we are dealing with in this state and in this country, I am personally tired of dealing with legislation that are solutions searching for a problem,” Democratic senator Kirk Hatcher said.
In North Dakota, the State Senate approved a similar bill 27-20, following passage by a wide margin in the House. North Dakota’s legislation was narrowed to apply only to K-12 schools, and while it bans transgender girls from playing on female sports teams, it includes an exception for girls who want to play sports that don’t have separate male and female squads.
“This is about Title IX and women’s rights — girls’ rights to have an even playing field. This is about feminism,” Republican senator Janne Myrdal, one of the bill’s sponsors, said during debate. “Please, put your emotions aside, and please don’t accuse anyone on this floor [of not being] loving or to be hateful because of this legislation. It has nothing to do with that.”