North Dakota will not immediately join the list of states that are placing restrictions on transgender student-athletes.
The Associated Press reported that North Dakota governor Doug Burgum “vetoed legislation Wednesday restricting transgender students from participating in public elementary and secondary school sports.”
According to the AP, the proposed bill would have prohibited K-12 schools in North Dakota from knowingly “allowing a student to join an athletic team exclusively for their opposite gender, but does allow girls to play on boys teams.”
Bills similar to the one in North Dakota have popped up across the United States, with the sponsors saying they are intended to protect girls’ sports by keeping transgender student-athletes competing against the gender with which they identified. Burgum said that North Dakota has a level playing field in girls’ sports and that the bill “purports that this long fairness is in immediate danger. There is no evidence to suggest this is true.
“To date there has not been a single recorded incident of a transgender girl attempting to play on a North Dakota girls’ team.”
North Dakota’s bill had reached the governor after passing through the House by a 69-25 vote and the Senate by a 27-20 vote. A two-thirds majority is needed to override the veto.
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The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement that it was “thrilled” with Burgum’s decision to veto legislation that the ACLU said was unconstitutional.
“It was obvious from the beginning that this discriminatory legislation was about creating solutions to problems that don’t exist and, in the process, harming some of the most vulnerable people in our state,” the statement said, according to the AP. “Nobody wins when politicians try to meddle in people’s lives like this. Nobody wins when we try to codify discrimination like this.”
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