DES MOINES, Iowa— Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law Thursday which will immediately ban transgender women and girls from competing on school, college, and university sports teams that correspond to their gender identity.
the step of Archive House 2416 has generated a firestorm of criticism from Iowa transgender, LGBTQ advocacy groups, businesses and Democrats who say so discriminates against transgender girls and violates civil rights laws. Legal experts expect the law to end up in court.
Reynolds, a Republican, said the law is “a matter of fairness” so he said they are athletic advantages for transgender girls. Her signature puts Iowa among 10 other Republican-led states who have passed laws restricting transgender athletes in recent years.
The law takes effect immediately.
Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, a Democrat, called Reynolds’ decision to sign the law “appalling.”
“She is proving once again that she is more interested in scoring political points than worrying about the impact of legislation on some of the most marginalized children in our society,” she said in a statement.
The law requires that school-sponsored athletic events be designated as men’s, women’s, or co-ed sports. Athletes competing in women’s sports must have the female sex on their birth certificate. There is no similar ban on men’s sports in the bill.
The law allows students to sue if they believe they have suffered “direct or indirect harm” because a school violated the law. The Iowa Attorney General’s office will represent the schools and school employees in the lawsuits, and the state will pay the legal costs.
Legal experts believe the Iowa law is likely headed for a legal challenge. In the past two years, such laws in Idaho, West Virginia, Tennessee and Florida have been mired in court battles.
TO nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency report He said the bill could also jeopardize federal funding because of its violation of Title IX, the 1972 law that prohibits discrimination in schools on the basis of sex. The United States Department of Education guidance published last year saying that the rights of transgender students are protected by Title IX.
The report says schools are unlikely to lose federal funding because of precedent, though it can’t predict how the department’s Office for Civil Rights will enforce the law.
Republicans have argued that rather than violate Title IX, the bill would maintain its intent to protect the competitiveness of women’s sports.
A group of more than 150 companiesincluding Amazon, General Mills, IBM, Microsoft and Nestle, have also signed a statement opposing pending legislation in Iowa and other states, according to a press release from the Human Rights Campaign.