Sun. Jun 20th, 2021

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – Gov. Doug Burgum, R-N.D., vetoed the “Transgender Sports” bill.

The bill would’ve banned anyone under the age of 18 from playing on a gendered sports team that doesn’t match their original birth certificate.

“To date, there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls’ team,” Burgum said.

Reactions came quick after the veto was announced.

“From the very beginning, there was overwhelming opposition to HB 1298 from multiple sectors, including business, education, healthcare, and advocacy, all of whom saw through this thinly veiled attempt to codify discrimination into state law,” said Brandi Hardy of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.

Burgum could see his veto challenged by lawmakers.

The bill passed the House with enough votes to override a veto, 69 – 25.

The bill went to the State Senate twice. The first time, it passed marginally under the required two-thirds majority.

However, it lost the support of five lawmakers the second time around and passed 27 – 20.

At the center of this bill was a moral battle over whose rights were being protected and whose were being harmed.

Supporters argued the bill is in alignment with Title IX by protecting scholarships and athletic opportunities for biological females.

But the bill was met with heavy criticism from human rights groups who said the bill is blatantly discriminatory towards transgender student-athletes.

Much of the concern was having North Dakota see similar reactions to that of North Carolina’s “Bathroom Bill” where the state saw major sports tournaments pull out of the state in response.

The NCAA recently released a statement saying they would consider not hosting their tournaments in states with policies that have laws discriminating against transgender athletes on the books.

In an attempt to accommodate, North Dakota lawmakers carved college athletes out of the bill by having it only apply to primary and secondary schools.

The NCAA didn’t comment on whether this version of the law would disqualify North Dakota from hosting tournament games.

Burgum isn’t the only governor to see this kind of legislation.

According to NPR, more than 30 other states have introduced similar bills. Some states have signed them into law and are already being targeted with legal action.

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