Idaho governor Brad Little has signed into law a controversial bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in the state.
House Bill 500, which would ban transgender girls and women from participating in girls’ and women’s sports, is expected to be challenged as unconstitutional.
Little signed the bill Monday without explanation as to his thinking about the issue.
“As a former Division I athlete and coach for 15 years, I am grateful to know that Idaho will continue to protect opportunities for girls and women in sports,” said Rep. Barbara Ehardt, (R-Idaho Falls), the bill’s co-sponsor, in an email Monday night to Idaho News. “I know firsthand that we simply cannot compete against the inherent physiological and scientifically proven advantages that boys and men possess, regardless of hormone usage.”
The bill passed both houses along party lines. A few republicans joined democrats in opposition.
According to Idaho News, supporters of the bill argued that the bill would protect the gains women have made under Title IX by ensuring they would not have to compete against athletes who were physically stronger. Opponents said the bill was inherently unfair and would subject transgender athletes to invasive physical examinations.
On the constitutional side, opponents argued that the bill would violate transgender athletes’ 14th Amendment protections, as well as the Commerce Clause by requiring the NCAA to abandon its own policy and adhere to Idaho’s law.
Related content: Idaho Senate Passes Controversial Transgender Bill