Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed legislation Tuesday banning biological men from participating in women’s sports sports.
Lawmakers introduced the Save Women’s Sports Act, or H4608, earlier this year, which requires that students participate in sports that align with the biological sex on their birth certificate.
“Athletic teams or sports designated for males, men, or boys shall not be open to students of the female sex, unless no team designated for females in that sport is offered at the school in which the student is enrolled,” the bill text reads. “Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.”
McMaster signed the legislation on Monday. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.
The move makes South Carolina the 16th state to explicitly ban biological males from women’s sports, according to the American Principles Project (APP): Idaho, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana, Alabama, Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah, and Kentucky have also passed such legislation.
“Male athletes do not belong in our daughters’ sports, period,” APP President Terry Schilling said, referring to the organization’s polling showing that the majority of Americans do not support trans surgeries or puberty blockers for minors. “This is a view shared by an overwhelming majority of Americans, as our recent polling of battleground states has shown. Biology matters, and no amount of gaslighting by woke ideologues will change that.”
Schilling noted that “there is no excuse left for those states that haven’t” passed such legislation, “particularly those led by Republicans.”
“This is now a litmus-test issue for the GOP, and voters will be paying attention to what their leaders either do or fail to do as we approach the midterms,” he added.
Progressive groups had succeeded in defeating 8 different versions of the bill between 2020 and 2022, South Carolina United for Justice and Equality (a coalition of over 30 LGBTQ organizations) said in a press release.
“The passage of this extreme political attack of a bill brings up so many feelings: Sadness for the trans youth who will now experience school as a place of exclusion; Anger at the lawmakers who perpetuated violence and ignorance with their vote; and fear for the many youth who will see this news and feel rejected and erased,” Executive Director of Gender Benders Ivy Hill said in a statement. “I also feel pride for the thousands of South Carolinians who have taken action against this attack, and I know that we will never stop fighting. Our coalition is exploring every strategy possible to ensure dignity and equality for transgender people in SC.”
Before the governor signed the bill, Hill urged McMaster “to do what six governors before him” had done (including three Republican governors): “Veto this unnecessary, dangerous bill.”
“To do anything less is to waste taxpayer dollars defending a bill that has already been ruled unconstitutional by two federal judges, including one in West Virginia,” said Hill, who also swerves as Community Health Program Director of Campaign for Southern Equality. “H.4608 is a frivolous attempt to address a manufactured problem, and it has no place in South Carolina.”