Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has signed into law a a bill banning transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams.
The state is the first to enact such a ban, following a federal court order blocking a similar law last year in Idaho. Mississippi’s Senate Bill 2536 is set to become law July 1, although a legal challenge is likely.
“But for the fact that President Biden as one of his first initiatives sat down and signed an executive order — which, in my opinion, encourages transgenderism amongst our young people — but for that fact, we wouldn’t be here today,” Gov. Reeves said during a ceremony in the Mississippi Capitol. He was joined by legislators who supported the bill.
Reeves has three daughters who play sports and he said March 4 on Twitter that Mississippi’s bill would “protect young girls from being forced to compete with biological males for athletic opportunities.”
The Mississippi Senate passed the bill Feb. 11, and the House passed it March 3. The bill was largely supported by Republican lawmakers, and most Democrats either opposed it or refrained from voting.
Republican legislators who pushed the bill gave no evidence of any transgender athletes competing in Mississippi schools or universities.
“The coaches have told me that this is an imminent problem in Mississippi, and that’s basically all the details that they were willing to give me,” Republican Sen. Angela Hill of Picayune said in response to questions Thursday. “I can’t tell you that they don’t know any examples. I believe they do know examples. I think that they wanted to leave it in general terms. But they told me that this is an urgent matter.”