Republican majority on House Education Committee unanimously approves ban on transgender girls in girls’ sports

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A bill banning transgender girls from participating in women’s school sports was passed by the Iowa House Education Committee in a party vote Monday, and all Republicans on the committee voted in favor and all Democrats voted against.

HF 2309 restricts participation in all women’s sports teams and in all girls ’sports competitions in all public and private schools to only those it defines as women’s, in accordance with the“ gender listed in the student’s official birth certificate, ”and allows any student sue the school or district for “direct or indirect damage” caused by non-compliance with the ban. Because the bill appears to violate federal civil rights laws, it also requires the Iowa Attorney General’s Office to defend “for free” any school or district sued for the ban.

According to Republican Skyler Wheeler of Orange City, one of the bill’s sponsors and chairman of the subcommittee that approved the bill last week, this likely violation of federal civil rights law is necessary to enforce federal civil rights law, including Section IX. This law was passed in 1972 to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sex in federal-funded educational programs.

Wheeler, better known for advocating a religious approach to lawmaking (“My worldview begins with the Bible and I take it literally … As a state legislator, I will use the Bible as a starting point for deciding which legislation I should support and against whom should I oppose, ”he said A small village in 2018) than to promote women’s rights, referred to section IX rather than the Bible at the subcommittee hearings last week and again on Monday.

“There are girls who are harmed because we didn’t get up and say,‘ You know what, biological girls? We created Title IX, we created women’s sport so that girls have equal and equal conditions, “Wheeler said during a hearing on the Education Committee.

He did not give examples of this alleged damage. As Keenan Crow of One Iowa, a non-profit organization speaking on behalf of the LGBTQ Iowans, explained during the subcommittee hearing: “There have been no incidents in Iowa, not even alleged injustice, let alone a documented case.”

But neither the lack of any existing problem nor the testimony of medical experts about the beneficial effects of participating in school sports competitions for transgender girls has persuaded any Republican in the House of Representatives to oppose the bill.

“I am not in favor of exposing a girl to the loss of a scholarship, university or state title simply because we have members who believe it is discriminatory for some reason,” Wheeler told the committee on Monday.

Gov. Kim Reynolds suggested a similar rationale for banning transgender girls from playing women’s sports when asked about the bill on Tuesday.

“Girls have dreams and aspirations to get a scholarship to help pay for college,” Reynolds said during an event at St. Teresa’s Catholic School in Des Moines. “Girls have dreams and aspirations to one day compete in the Olympics.” So it’s a matter of justice. “

The governor was at a Catholic school to promote a bill she sponsored that would redirect funds to public schools and allow them to be used to cover tuition costs in private schools, even religious schools.

Despite justifying the exclusion of transgender girls from girls ’athletic activities, Reynolds said she did not take a position on HF 2309.

“I’m not going to say yes or no until she’s on my desk,” the governor said. Reynolds often claims that she has no position on the controversial bills, the provisions of which she defended, until the signing of these bills.

The governor acknowledged that she called for a bill like HF 2309 last year. Speaking to Fox News last April, Reynolds said “we are working on legislation” to ban transgender girls from participating in school sports competitions.

“I hope that by the end of this legislative session I should put this on my desk and we will sign this bill,” she told Fox News presenter Lori Ingram.

At the time, Reynolds’ statement came as a surprise to lawmakers who were not working on such a bill.

The Democratic Opposition HF 2309 on Monday was led by MP Mary Masher of Iowa City, who taught in the Iowa City School District for 33 years before retiring in 2009.

“Iowa should never discriminate against a child or group of children,” Masher said. “We are better than that. If we don’t, we should be.

“Transgender children are 40 percent more likely to commit suicide. It’s not about who they are, but how they are treated. “

As Masher noted, “There are no examples of injustice or of anyone trying to play the system. It’s a shame, especially for children who are already marginalized. “

The Education Committee voted 14-7 in favor of the bill. HF 2309 now has the right to go to the Iowa House for debate and a final vote.

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