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The Arkansas state Senate will vote on the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” after the state’s Senate Education Committee endorsed the measure with a 5-3 vote at the start of the week.
“Senate Bill 354 by Sen. Missy Irvin, R-Mountain View, would allow students ‘deprived of an athletic opportunity’ or suffering ‘direct or indirect harm’ as a result of a kindergarten-through-12th-grade school or higher-education institution not maintaining separate teams for cisgender female students to seek injunctive relief against the school, as well as monetary damages,” the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.
Irvin says that her bill “preserves the fairness in women’s sports by making sure that girls have the ability to compete on a level playing field.”
Beth Stelzer, a power-lifter and the founder of the group Save Women’s Sports, said that it was imperative that Arkansas move fast on the issue to make sure no girls in the state are “seriously injured” by competing against biological males.
Women in the #Arkansas legislature are taking a stand to protect their female athletes! Our hearing for SB 354 starts in about an hour! Link below! #SaveWomensSports #SaveGirlsSports #SexNotGender #FairPlay pic.twitter.com/QKRnNtjpR1
— Save Women's Sports (@SaveWomensSport) March 8, 2021
The bill states in-part:
While classifications based on sex are generally disfavored, the United States Supreme Court in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 533 (1996), has recognized that “sex classifications may be used to compensate women for particular economic disabilities [they have] suffered, promote equal employment opportunity, [and] to advance full development of the talent and capacities of our Nation’s people”; (7) One place where sex classifications allow for the “full development of the talent and capacities of our Nation’s people” is in the context of sports and athletics; (8) Courts have recognized that the inherent, physiological differences between males and females result in different athletic capabilities.
Numerous states across the country are considering similar bills as the push to protect women’s sports has gained traction in recent years.
One of the most controversial executive orders that Democrat President Joe Biden signed during his first days in office mandated allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports. The order stated in part:
Every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, no matter who they are or whom they love. Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes. People should be able to access healthcare and secure a roof over their heads without being subjected to sex discrimination. All persons should receive equal treatment under the law, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The order “unilaterally eviscerate[d] women’s sports,” author and women’s rights activist Abigail Shrier wrote on Twitter following Biden’s signing of the order. “Any educational institution that receives federal funding must admit biologically-male athletes to women’s teams, women’s scholarships, etc. A new glass ceiling was just placed over girls.”