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Indiana Legislature enacts transgender ban for girls' sports, overriding governor's veto

GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed the bill in March.

Published: May 25, 2022 7:31am

Updated: May 25, 2022 12:03pm

Republican lawmakers in the Indiana Legislature banned biological males from playing on girls' sports teams, overriding a veto by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The vote makes Indiana the most recent state to pass legislation banning biological males who identify as women from participating in sports that do not align with their gender assigned at birth.

Holcomb, who is serving his second term and must retire in 2024, vetoed the bill in March, arguing that it would be challenged in court and questioning whether it solved any pressing matters. 

The bill "implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met," the governor said at the time. "After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal."

Following the override vote, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana announced it had filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a 10-year-old biological male who identifies as a girl and plays on the school's girls' softball team. 

The Alliance Defending Freedom praised the Legislature on Tuesday for overriding Holcomb's veto.

"We commend the Indiana legislators who took a stand for female athletes by overriding this veto, and we are hopeful they will act quickly to extend these protections to collegiate athletes, especially since the NCAA has failed in its duty to preserve fair and equal opportunity for women," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Christiana Kiefer.

Republican state Attorney General Todd Rokita has also been a consistent supporter of the measure.

"Hoosiers won’t be bullied by woke groups threatening girls' sports," he wrote in a recent op-ed.

The bill passed both chambers of the Republican-controlled state House earlier this year by significant margins, and veto overrides require only a simple majority in each chamber in Indiana.

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