Senators voted 26-12 on Tuesday to overrule Edwards in favor of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which the chamber approved on May 5.
“Without protection, women’s sports would not exist. Nothing has changed,” state Sen. Beth Mizell told fellow lawmakers Tuesday. “I ask you to do what is right for the girls of Louisiana and to put the politics aside on this.”
The bill provides that women’s and girls’ sports teams at publicly funded schools “shall be for those students who are biological females” and that men’s and boys’ teams are for biological men.
It also prohibits entities such as athletic organizations from entertaining complaints or taking action against schools and coaches maintaining teams in accordance with biological sex.
The measure further provides female students, schools, and university board members the ability to bring legal action against entities that adversely respond to the enforcement of or support for the bill’s restrictions.
“Requiring a biological woman to compete against a biological male on a team that is designated as a ‘female,’ ‘girls’,’ or ‘women’s’ team is inherently discriminatory to biological women and is a cognizable harm to biological women,” the bill says.
“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” he said in June.
Democratic state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson warned lawmakers ahead of the veto override vote that it would harm the state’s business environment. Companies and athletic organizations have boycotted states over Republican-supported bills on things such as transgender policies and voting laws.
“You can’t have it both ways,” she said. “You either want businesses to come to Louisiana or you can discriminate.”
Several other Republican-led states have passed measures requiring school sports teams to be maintained on the basis of biological sex, including Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Florida.
The veto override must be approved by a two-thirds majority in the state House, which is scheduled to begin debate on Wednesday, to implement the law.
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