Republican Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill Monday that would have barred transgender girls from participating in women’s school sports, bucking a trend among GOP governors.
In a letter to the state’s House of Representatives, Holcomb said he felt the bill “falls short” of providing clarity on a policy for the fairness of K-12 sports in Indiana.
The governor highlighted the likelihood of litigation, pointing to suits filed in other states as well as in Indiana federal court before the introduction of the bill by a middle school student seeking to play school sports on the team of their choice.
“Any bill brought forward should address the issues raised in these lawsuits,” Holcomb wrote.
“Finally, the presumption of the policy laid out in [the legislation] is that there is an existing problem in K-12 sports in Indiana that requires further state government intervention,” he continued. “It implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met. After thorough review, I find no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.”
Holcomb’s veto comes as Republican leaders across the country look to impose restrictions on transgender youth attempting to play school sports.
Earlier this month, South Dakota Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a similar ban into law, prohibiting transgender youth in schools and colleges from joining sports teams that do not align with their sex at birth.
“No amount of talent, training or effort can make up for the natural physical advantages males have over females. It’s simply a reality of human biology,” Reynolds said when signing the bill.
“Forcing females to compete against males is the opposite of inclusivity and it’s absolutely unfair.”
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia are among the states that have enacted similar laws while legislation has been proposed in more than 20 other states.