FLORIDA — Today, as Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law Florida Senate Bill 1028 — an education bill that was amended to ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports at the secondary and post-secondary level consistent with their gender identity — the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is announcing its intent to challenge the new law in court.
This upcoming lawsuit in Florida to be filed by the Human Rights Campaign comes amid a rash of anti-transgender sports ban legislation being taken up and passed in states across the country. Today's bill signing by Governor DeSantis took place on the first day of LGBTQ Pride Month and within 12 days of the anniversary of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, Florida. Lawmakers across the country who support these bills have failed to provide examples of any issue in their states to attempt to justify these attacks on transgender youth, laying bare the reality that they are fueled by discriminatory intent and not supported by fact. The Human Rights Campaign’s action follows an earlier lawsuit against an anti-LGBTQ regulation by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that would have illegally strip away critical anti-discrimination protections in the Affordable Care Act. HRC won a preliminary injunction in that case in August of 2020.
Wide range of business and advocacy groups, athletes oppose anti-trans legislation
The NCAA opposes efforts to limit participation of transgender students
The NCAA Board of Governors released a public letter making clear that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” Moreover, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.” This puts the 30 states with discriminatory anti-transgender
A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern
These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — dangerous, anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.
Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters
A new PBS/NPR/Marist poll states that 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose the anti-transgender sports ban legislation proliferating across 30 states.
In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:
Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”
States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm
Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.
Gov. DeSantis is one of seven governors — including Gov. Greg Gianforte in Montana, Gov. Kay Ivey in Alabama, Gov. Jim Justice in West Virginia, Gov. Tate Reeves in Mississippi, Gov. Bill Lee in Tennessee, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas — who have signed anti-transgender legislation this session. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem issued a “style and form” veto to similar legislation in her state before issuing two executive orders to similar effect.
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