'Going off BIOLOGY, not IDEOLOGY': Florida Governor DeSantis signs bill banning biological males from girls' sports
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has once again pressed a hot-button conservative issue, signing legislation prohibiting biological males from competing in female sports to protect the “fairness and integrity of women's athletics.”
DeSantis signed the bill into law on Tuesday in a ceremony at Trinity Christian Academy in his native Jacksonville. It was perhaps no coincidence that the Republican governor enacted the law on the first day of Pride Month, pushing back against LGBTQ activism in his latest appeal to conservative voters.
“We're going to go based off biology, not based off ideology, when we're doing sports,” DeSantis said on a stage with female student athletes standing behind him. He added,
In Florida, girls are going to play girls' sports and boys are going to play boys' sports.
The new Florida law follows similar bans on transgender females competing in girls' sports in other Republican-controlled states, including Arkansas and Mississippi. DeSantis and other proponents have argued that such laws prevent girls from being put at an unfair disadvantage to biological males, preserving the integrity of their competitions and the rewards, such as college scholarships, that are at stake.
But transgender activists have argued that such legislation is discriminatory and attacks a non-existent problem to score political points. International NGO Human Rights Watch said in a statement reported by local media that it plans to sue Florida over the new law. Idaho last year became the first US state to enact such a ban, but a federal court ruling has held up its implementation.
The Florida legislation goes a step further than merely banning transgender females from girls' sports. It also allows for civil remedies, which DeSantis referred to as "enforcing fairness and equality on behalf of girls and women."
Any girl or woman who is deprived of an athletic opportunity because of the new law being violated can sue for damages, as can anyone who suffers retaliation for reporting a violation. A school that suffers harm because the law has been violated by a government entity, accrediting organization, or athletic association also can sue. Athletes will compete based on the biological sex on their birth certificate.
DeSantis noted that corporations “get spun up” and athletic organizations threaten to cancel events when states enact legislation opposed by LGBTQ groups. “In Florida, we're going to do what's right,” he said. “We'll stand up to corporations. They are not going to dictate the policies in this state. We will stand up to groups like the NCAA, who think they should be able to dictate the policies in different states. Not here. Not ever.”
The governor added that if events are canceled, hurting the state economically, “I would choose to protect our young girls every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
The new transgender sports law marks just the latest profile-raising move by DeSantis. In the past year, he has taken such controversial steps as banning local governments from enforcing Covid-19 mask mandates, blocking the use of vaccine passports in the state, and enacting a law that allows Floridians to sue Big Tech social-media companies if they are unjustly de-platformed.Also on rt.com ‘Shameful fearmongering’? LGBTQ+ activists blast 60 Minutes for segment on trans youths featuring people who have detransitioned
Attention-grabbing announcements have helped make DeSantis one of the early frontrunners for the GOP's 2024 presidential nomination. He ranked behind only former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence last month in a Morning Consult poll.
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