Wyoming Committee Passes Ban On Trans Athletes In Women’s Sports
The Wyoming Senate Education Committee on Wednesday morning signed off on a bill that would ban transgender athletes who were born as males from competing in women's sports in Wyoming.
You can read Senate File 51, the fairness in Women's Sports Act, here. Senators Biteman, Salazar and committee chair Charles Scott [R-Natrona County] voted in favor of the bill. Sens. Rothfuss and Ellis voted against the measure.
The Bill now moves on to the full Senate. Wednesday's vote concluded two days of often passionate testimony on both sides of the issue. The committee starting taking testimony on Monday morning, with continuing comment on Wednesday.
Chairman Scott cut off further testimony on the issue on Wednesday, saying he felt the committee had taken a fair cross section of comment respresenting opinion on the issue, and that the committee had another fairly complicated bill to consider before adjourning for the morning.
In Wednesday testimony on the bill, Sabrina King of the Wyoming ACLU warned that the bill is unconstitutional and would not stand up in court. ''The government has to have an exceedingly persuasive justifaction about gender discrimination or sex discrimination. I think what we have heard today is that we don't have that exceedingly persuasive justification.'' King said the arguments in favor of the bill seem to be based on concerns about what might happen in the future rather than any existing problems. She added the bill is not constitutional under the equal protection clause of the constitution, and predicted Wyoming will find itself in court if Senate File 51 becomes law.
But the bill's sponsor. Sen. Wendy Shuler [R-Uinta County] recalled playing sports in her childhood, and that after they reached a certain age, her brothers and male cousins were ''beating the tar out of me'' when they played. So I was "so glad, so glad when Title IX came in, because it really did level the playing field." She went on to say she "had some great experiences as a female athlete." Of trans athletes competing in women's sports, Shuler said ''It's just not fair." Shuler says testosterone suppression therapy does little to change the fact that athletes born as males have big athletic advantages. Shuler said there would be opportunities for trans athletes to compete in sports, just not in women's sports.
Senate File 51 now moves on to the full Senate, where it potentially faces three readings before a final and decisive vote that could send the measure on to the Wyoming House.