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Holcomb Vetos HB 1041; Override Vote Announced by Huston

Governor Holcomb yesterday vetoed HB 1041, a bill that would have banned transgender girls from playing school sports with their peers.

In a letter to Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston announcing his veto, Gov. Holcomb called on the Indiana house to address what he saw as shortcomings in the bill pertaining to enforcement and consistency. He also stood by the IHSAA, saying, “I am heartened by the IHSAA which has done an admirable job to maintain fairness and consistency in all sports. Nowhere in the testimony in this legislation was a critique leveled against their model on how to govern this and other complex matters. Furthermore, not a single case of a male seeking to participate on a female team has completed the process established by IHSAA’s now decade-old policy.”

Speaker Huston, as well as several members of the Indiana House, have called for an override vote. Speaker Huston announced yesterday the house would hold a special override vote on May 24. An override vote in the Indiana house requires a simple majority of votes to pass.

Katie Blair, ACLU of Indiana Advocacy and Public Policy Director, released the following statement: “This victory belongs to the trans youth of Indiana, who deserve to live as their authentic selves and to play the sports they love, free from discrimination. This win wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of Hoosiers who voiced their strong opposition to state legislators and who showed up at the Statehouse to oppose this harmful bill. Discrimination has no place in our state.”

Christiana Holcomb, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, issued a statement following Governor Holcomb’s veto:

“Women and girls deserve to compete on a level playing field. When we ignore biological reality, female athletes lose medals, podium spots, public recognition, and opportunities to compete. While Indiana’s fairness in sports bill glaringly failed to include protections for athletes at the collegiate level, the governor’s refusal even to protect girls in K-12 is all the more disappointing. By vetoing this bill, Gov. Holcomb has chosen to reject fairness in sports for thousands of women and girls in Indiana. Just last week, a female swimmer from Indiana was knocked down in the rankings at the NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships by a male who went on to claim a national title. Where is the governor’s empathy for those talented and courageous women? Regrettably, he has turned a blind eye to the increasing examples of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions.” “Gov. Holcomb’s claims about the bill ring hollow considering that 11 other states have enacted women’s sports laws without any confusion. They understand that these laws are not only constitutionally sound but fully consistent with Title IX. Attorneys general from 14 states said as much when they filed a brief supporting Idaho’s 2020 Fairness in Women’s Sports law. If Gov. Holcomb truly finds saving women’s sports ‘a worthy cause for sure,’ he would not sacrifice fairness for Indiana’s women and girls to such flimsy and baseless justifications. We are thankful to the legislators who took a stand for a level playing field for female athletes of all ages, and we will continue to work alongside them to protect fairness in women’s sports.”