Ohio House passes bill banning transgender girls from female school sports
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio House lawmakers late Wednesday passed a bill prohibiting transgender girls from joining female sports teams in schools, state institutions of higher education and private colleges.
It passed with heavy GOP support 56-28 party-line vote in House Bill 151, which replaces the Ohio Teacher Residency Program with a two-year local teacher mentorship program that starts in the 2023-2024 school year.
The version passed late Wednesday now also says this:
“and to enact the Save Women’s Sports Act to require schools, state institutions of higher education, and private colleges to designate separate single-sex teams and sports for each sex.”
The bill also requires:
- Transgender female athletes to join male or co-ed teams
- Students to get a signed statement from a doctor verifying their biological sex if it is questioned
Schools that knowingly violate H.B. 151 could face legal action.
Wednesday’s vote came on the first day of Pride Month.
The bill goes next to the Senate for consideration, but that won’t be happening anytime soon.
The Ohio High School Athletic Association allows transgender girls and boys to compete on teams that align with their gender if they meet certain physical criteria.
“Transgender student athletes should have equal opportunity to participate in sports,” their policy states. “The integrity of women’s sports should be preserved. Policies governing sports should be objective, workable and predictable; they should also be written, available and equitably enforced. Policies governing the participation of transgender students in sports should be fair in light of the tremendous variation among individuals in strength, size, musculature and ability.”
Read their entire policy on their website here.
FOX19 NOW has requests for comment from multiple state lawmakers from Greater Cincinnati in both political parties.
State Rep. Brigid Kelly (D-Cincinnati) tells FOX19 NOW this is the second time House Republicans tacked this issue via a last-minute amendment onto a bill just before a vote.
“It’s all about politics and not about real problems,” she said. “It is totally unnecessary and the OHSAA already has policies in place addressing this issue.”
The legislation was sponsored by a Republican lawmaker from Harrison County in eastern Ohio, Rep. Don Jones.
When he proposed House Bill 151, there was no mention of transgender athletes and he said there was too much state control in education.
It was added to the bill through a last-minute floor amendment Wednesday night by Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum).
“Rep. Powell had put this same amendment in a previous bill last year that the Senate did not take up. So she is trying again and she put it in this house bill that Don Jones had. It’s up to the Senate to see what to do with this,” said State Rep. Bill Seitz (R-Green Township), who voted for it.
“I agree with the Governor that it’s up to the sports groups but, I think they are stuck and maybe the almighty dollar is more important to them than fairness these days. So let’s help them out,” said State Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton).
A Gallup poll last year concluded that 62% of Americans believe transgender athletes should play on teams matching their gender at birth.
State Sen. George Lang, a Republican whose district includes West Chester and Liberty townships in Butler County, says he supports House Bill 151 and will vote yes for it when comes to the Senate.
“Biological males should not compete against biological females under any circumstances because of the physical differences,” he tells FOX19 NOW. In general, men tend to have some certain physical advantages that women don’t have.”
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