Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, introduced the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act” on Thursday, February 4 proposing that for institutions that receive federal funds, participation in sports must be based on biology, rather than gender identity.
The purpose of the bill is to protect girls sports. If signed into law, it would ensure that only biological females can participate in female athletics.
The bill, S.251, would “provide that for purposes of determining compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in athletics, sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
On February 5, Sen. Lee issued a press release on the bill. “When transgender athletes compete against women, women’s sports are no longer women’s sports; they become unisex athletic events,” Sen. Lee said. “This bill would protect the opportunity of girls throughout America to athletically compete against other girls.”
The press release notes that 13 other senators have co-sponsored the bill, all of whom are Republicans.
The introduction of the bill comes days after Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., questioned President Joe Biden’s nominee for education secretary, Miguel Cardona, over whether he would implement Biden’s recent executive order mandating biological males be allowed to participate in girls athletics.
Asked by Sen. Paul whether he thought it was “fair” for boys to compete against girls in track, Cardona responded, “I think it’s appropriate – I think it’s the legal responsibility for schools to provide opportunities for students to participate in activities and this includes students who are transgender.”
A complement to S.251 was introduced in the House of Representatives on January 21 by Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., along with 13 Republican colleagues.
The brief, two-page bill stipulates that it is a violation of federal law “for a recipient of federal funds who operates, sponsors, or facilitates athletic programs or activities to permit a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls.”
The full list of cosponsors of the Senate bill includes: Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., James Lankford R-Okla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.
Outside organizations in support of the bill include: Concerned Women for American (CWA), American Principles Project (APP), Family Research Council (FRC), Ethics & Public Policy Center (EPPC), Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Save Women’s Sports, Heritage Action for America (HAFA), Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Family Policy Alliance, and Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF).
The proposed legislation has received little support from Democrats, with the exception of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, who late last year introduced the “Protect Women’s Sports Act” in the House.
At the time, Rep. Gabbard said that the bill “protects Title IX’s original intent which was based on the general biological distinction between men and women athletes based on sex.”
To learn more about protecting female athletics or to sign a petition encouraging lawmakers to cosponsor the bill, visit the Family Policy Alliance’s “Save Girls Sports” website by clicking here.
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Photo from HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS
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