The White House denounced legislation in Texas on Tuesday that would ban biological boys from playing on girls’ sports teams, signaling that the Biden administration may take steps to combat the bill if signed into law.
“This hateful bill in Texas is just the latest example of Republican state lawmakers using legislation to target transgender kids — whom the president believes are some of the bravest Americans — in order to score political points,” White House spokesman Ike Hajinazarian told The Dallas Morning News. “These anti-transgender bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation and undermine our nation’s core values.”
Matt Hill, senior associate communications director for the White House, signaled that the Biden administration may take action against the Texas legislation, which is poised to be signed by Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX). “Our message to young transgender people in Texas and across the country: these hateful bills are bullying disguised as legislation, and @POTUS and our Administration will always keep fighting for the full equality LGBTQ+ folks deserve,” Hill said.
The Texas legislature passed the bill last week. If signed into law, it would mandate that students compete on teams corresponding to their biological gender, effectively blocking transgender students from competing on teams they “identify” with. The legislation’s proponents say that it is a necessary action needed to protect female sports and competitors from biological males.
“Biological males, in addition to having much higher testosterone levels, have many other physiological advantages that girls just cannot overcome,” state Rep. Valoree Swanson (R-TX), one of the authors of the bill, said.
“We all know men and women are built differently. And the results prove the unfairness of forcing our daughters and granddaughters to compete against biological males,” Swanson said. “To say otherwise doesn’t just reject biology, it denies girls their dignity, self-confidence, and humanity.”
The Biden administration is already engaging in a legal battle with the Lone Star State over another law, its “heartbeat” bill, which bans abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detected, which is roughly six weeks into a pregnancy. The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court to issue an injunction stopping the law’s enforcement while legal challenges take place.
The Texas law is “clearly unconstitutional,” the DOJ wrote in its brief. “Allowing S.B. 8 to remain in force would irreparably harm those interests and perpetuate the ongoing irreparable injury to the thousands of Texas women who are being denied their constitutional rights. Texas, in contrast, would suffer no cognizable injury from a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of a plainly unconstitutional law.”
Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked a similar petition from the DOJ. As The Daily Wire reported:
On Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against the Biden administration Justice Department, asserting that Texas’ heartbeat abortion law can remain in place.
“The court issued a 2–1 order siding with the state of Texas, refusing the Justice Department’s request to reinstate an earlier court ruling that had blocked enforcement of the law. The order was backed by Judges James C. Ho, who was nominated by Donald Trump, and Catharina Haynes, who was nominated by George W. Bush. Judge Carl E. Stewart, a nominee of Bill Clinton, dissented,” National Review reported, adding, “Thursday’s decision comes after the same panel last week issued a temporary decision to reinstate the law after a federal judge in Austin temporarily halted the ban.”