The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would ban transgender women from competing in women’s sports.
The bill — titled the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” — passed by a 115 to 84 bipartisan vote and will be passed on to the state senate, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The bill would prevent transgender women and girls from competing on female sports teams at public and some private institutions, according to CNN.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has promised to veto the bill.
"As states across the country push transphobic legislation, some Republicans in the General Assembly are wasting time attempting the same in Pennsylvania," Wolf wrote on Twitter after the bill’s passing.
Democratic Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, who opposed the bill, said that trans youth were being used for political gain. Rep. Brian Sims called the effort a “shameful misuse of power and one that can have deadly consequences," The Inquirer reported.
Proponents of the bill alleged that the bill would put fairness in athletic competition at risk.
“The bottom line is allowing biological males to compete in girls and women’s sports destroys fair competition. It doesn’t create it,” Valerie Gaydos, a Republican representative and bill cosponsor, said during the floor debate, according to The Inquirer.
A 2017 review found that there was no research supporting an advantage for transgender individuals in sports.
Democratic opposers have also questioned the General Assembly’s ability to determine sports eligibility criteria, claiming that it falls outside its constitutional mandate, The Inquirer reported.
Penn women’s swimmer Lia Thomas recently became the first transgender woman to win a Division I NCAA Championship title, however, her participation in the championship drew national attention and protests.
On Feb. 10, the NCAA announced that it will not adopt USA Swimming’s more rigid policies for transgender athletes ahead of this year’s championship, thus preserving Thomas' eligibility to compete in the meet. The NCAA also opposes bans on transgender student-athletes.