A bill that would ban transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports passed through the Wyoming Senate on Wednesday and is now headed to the Wyoming House of Representatives for introduction.
Senate File 51, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” passed the Senate in its third and final reading by a vote of 24-5. There was no discussion before the vote.
The five senators who voted against the bill were Sens. Cale Case, R-Lander, Mike Gierau, D-Jackson, Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, Drew Perkins, R-Casper, and Chris Rothfuss, D-Laramie.
Bill sponsor Sen. Wendy Schuler, R-Evanston, has repeatedly said that the bill is intended to keep biological males from participating in athletic teams or sports designated for women.
“This bill is just not meant to be about anything other than fairness,” Schuler said Monday during a Senate floor debate. “There are plenty of opportunities for transgendered athletes to compete on mixed sex or co-ed teams where biology is not a factor.”
Schuler previously said that men have innate physiological traits that give them athletic advantages over women, which is why separate women’s sports programs were originally created.
Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, argued during the same floor session that the legislation might not even be constitutional. She said such issues should be left to local leaders to decide, not the Legislature.
“We, as a society, will continue to balance these interests, and in understanding how to raise our families and to raise our children in this state, we rely on those teachers, coaches, professionals and school boards to navigate these issues as we know they always have,” she said. “Let’s trust them to deal with these children, which they are, in the way that they know how to do.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming has also argued against the bill.
“Trans people belong everywhere in Wyoming, including sports,” the ACLU of Wyoming said Wednesday. “And the Wyoming High School Activities Association already has a policy in place for transgender athletes.