Backlash Against Wisconsin Democrat Governor Over Female Sports Bill Veto

Backlash Against Wisconsin Democrat Governor Over Female Sports Bill Veto

Following his blocking of a GOP-led bill that would have prohibited transgender students in the state from participating on school sports teams that do not correspond with their biological sex, Democratic governor of Wisconsin Tony Evers is under criticism.

In a letter to state legislators on Tuesday, Evers stated that the bill he vetoed “fails to comport with our Wisconsin values”. Earlier this year, Assembly Bill 377 was approved by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature in both houses.

“I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to codifying discrimination into state statute and the Wisconsin State Legislature’s ongoing efforts to perpetuate hateful and discriminatory rhetoric and policies targeting LGBTQ Wisconsinites, including our transgender and gender nonconforming kids,” Evers stated.

“This type of legislation, and the harmful rhetoric beget by pursuing it, harms LGBT Wisconsinites’ and kids’ mental health, emboldens anti-LGBTQ harassment, bullying, and violence, and threatens the safety and dignity of LGBTQ Wisconsinites, especially our LGBTQ kids,” he continued.

Evers made a promise to veto “any bill that makes Wisconsin a less safe, less inclusive, and less welcoming place for LGBTQ people and kids.”

Specifically, “pupils of the male sex from participating on an athletic team or in an athletic sport that is designated for females under par” would have been the measure’s most notable prohibition.

Evers posted a video of himself opposing the bill on social media shortly after announcing the veto, adding, “I just vetoed Republicans’ anti-LGBTQ bill to ban trans and gender nonconforming kids from participating in school sports teams that align with their gender identity.”

After being made to compete against biological men in women’s sports, Riley Gaines, a former NCAA swimmer, has now taken on a role as the face of fairness in the sport, attacked Evers for his decision to reject the measure.

In addition, Evers said in his veto of the bill that it “ignores” a 2015 WIAA policy that governed transgender high school athletes’ eligibility in the state.

This guideline requires transsexual girls to undergo a full year of hormone therapy before they are allowed to play on female sports teams; it does not prohibit biological males from playing on female-designated teams.

The Education Department’s 2021 notice of interpretation stated that “the Title IX prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity, which is inclusive of transgender students,” which furthered Evers’s argument that the measure “may conflict with existing federal law.”

The bill was approved by the state legislature in October on a party-line vote of 63-35, but Evers vetoed it. Before it reached the governor’s desk, the legislation was subsequently adopted by state senators last month in a vote that was primarily party-line. The vote count was 21-11.

There isn’t a two-thirds majority in either GOP-led body to override Evers’ veto.