‘Draconian And Discriminatory:’ Gordon Won’t Sign Transgender Sports Ban, Becomes Law Without Signature

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday said banning biological males from competing in girls school sports is "draconian" and "discriminatory," but allowed the bill to go into law without signing it.

Clair McFarland

March 18, 20232 min read

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By Clair McFarland, State Courts And Crime Reporter

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday declined to sign into law a bill banning biological males from competing in girls’ school sports, saying the outright ban is “draconian” and “discriminatory.”  

Senate File 133 will become law anyway, because the governor chose not to veto it. Letting a bill become law without a signature is a statement by the governor and doesn’t change the force of the law.  

“While he supports and agrees with the overall goal of fairness in competitive female sports,” reads a statement from Gordon’s office, the governor believes the ban is “overly draconian, is discriminatory without attention to individual circumstances or mitigating factors and pays little attention to the fundamental principles of equality.”  

‘Sends A Harmful Message’ 

SF 133 bans biological males from participating in girls school sports in grades seven through 12.  

Gordon said he believes the bill’s intent is “well-meaning as a way to protect the integrity and fairness of women’s sports in our state,” but that an outright ban “sends a harmful message that these individuals and their families do not deserve the same opportunities as others.”  

The law is effective July 1 and therefore will not impact students until the next school year.  

Gordon’s statement says he has committed to work with Megan Degenfelder, Wyoming superintendent of Public Instruction, to ensure that there’s clear guidance for how transgender students can “have some means to participate safely in interscholastic activities after this law goes into effect, recognizing sadly that may mean these young people may not be able to compete in athletics.”  

Meanwhile, In Court 

Similar laws around the country are facing court challenges, as transgender people claim they violate their right to equal protection by government.  

That’s why SF 133 contains an alternate provision that would become effective if a court were to block or overrule the ban. In that event, the Wyoming High School Activities Association would appoint an independent board to review transgender athlete appeals on a case-by-case basis.

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter