Republican lawmakers in Indiana voted Tuesday for the override of the GOP governor's veto on a bill that would have prohibited transgender girls from participating in girls school sports. They join more than a dozen states that adopted similar laws within the last two years.
The 32-15 vote of state senators was in favor overriding Gov. Eric Holcomb voted in favor of overriding Gov. in a 67-28 House vote earlier in the day. Holcomb had stated in his veto message, that the bill didn't provide a consistent policy to what he called "fairness for K-12 sports." He vetoed the bill in March.
The override votes were almost party-line and no legislators changed their votes from earlier in the year. All four Republican senators voted to keep the veto. Three Republicans voted for the veto in the House while one Democrat voted against it.
Opponents claim the bill is a bigoted solution to a problem that does not exist. Minutes after the override, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed suit in an attempt to block the law's implementation as planned on July 1.
The lawsuit was filed in behalf of a 10-year old girl who plays on the school's all-girls team in softball. According to the complaint, the new law would prevent the fourth-grader from rejoining her team as she is a transgender girl. This is a violation both Title IX and U.S. Constitution.
Holcomb stated in a statement that his "position hasn’t changed" following the override.
"There are no cases remaining and the process, which has been managed by the Indianna High School Athletic Association is still working. He said that he stands behind his decision to veto HB1041.
The bill's Republican sponsors argue that it is necessary to preserve the integrity of female sports, and to provide opportunities for girls to receive college athletic scholarships. However, they have not pointed to any instances where girls were outperformed or outclassed by transgender athletes.
"(This measure does not solve a problem. It doesn't bring people together. It doesn't benefit our state in any manner," Democratic Senator J.D. Just before the Senate vote, Ford of Indianapolis stated. "Why are you insisting on the government to resolve this issue when there is none?"
Rodric Bray, Republican Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray stated that the state needed the policy and called the matter "a matter simple fairness".
Bray stated that while we don't want to see Indiana sued, it does happen from time to time. It's a policy I believe we can stand behind.
The special one-day meeting that resulted in the veto override votes was held 11 weeks after the end of this year's regular legislative session. Democrats wanted lawmakers to consider a proposal to stop the 56 cents per gallon state gasoline tax, which was being raised by the national spike in fuel prices. Republicans ignored that request.
Phil GiaQuinta, Fort Wayne House Democratic Leader, lamented that Republicans are focusing on divisive cultural issues and "won’t do anything to move the state of Indiana ahead."
GiaQuinta stated that "certainly, there are some pressing issues out here that are affecting Hoosiers each day, particularly the high gasoline price that we're witnessing all over the state." "Wishes we could have used this day to help Hoosiers."
Before the Legislature votes, activists held a protest against the ban. Numerous people attended, including many families with transgender youths, and played sidewalk games on the Statehouse lawn. They claimed that Indiana's ban doesn't target elite athletes but children who want to play with their friends on a team.
Cara Nimskey (the mother of a Bloomington transgender girl) said, "We're here against hate and discrimination which could have a lifetime impact on my family." "My daughter dreams about playing basketball high school. This is an unfair exclusion. She'll be crushed if it goes through.
Holcomb's veto was made one day before Republican Utah Governor. Spencer Cox opposed a similar ban, arguing that such laws target children at high risk of suicide and vulnerable children. Utah's Republican legislators overrode the veto days afterward amid a wave law similar to this that was described by political observers as a "wedge issue" designed to encourage conservative supporters.