Florida legislators passed a bill Wednesday banning males from competing in women's sports at the high school and college levels.
The legislation passed in the state's House 79-37 and in the Senate 23-16. The measure now goes to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature and will take effect July 1.
DeSantis told Fox News on Thursday that he will sign the bill that bans transgender females from women's and girls' sports in the Sunshine State.
"We're going to protect our girls," DeSantis said at a town hall of red-state governors hosted by Fox's Laura Ingraham. "I have a four-year-old daughter and a one-year-old daughter. They're both very athletic. We want to have opportunities for our girls. They deserve an even playing field, and that's what we're doing."
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Under the bill, student athletes' eligibility for sports teams would be based on their biological sex as stated on their original birth certificates issued "at or near the time of the student's birth."
State Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Kelli Stargel sponsored SB 1028, an education bill that concerns charter schools. However, state Rep. Kaylee Tuck added a last-minute amendment that establishes the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act."
Stargel stated this bill recognizes the physiological differences between the sexes and gives girls and women an equal opportunity to excel in sports.
"It's not meant to be hurtful. It's not meant to be discriminating. It's not meant to attack any group. This is not about that. This is about sports and having competitive advantage and having the ability to compete," said Stargel.
Florida is among several states where lawmakers have recently enacted similar legislation to protect women's sports. On Wednesday, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signed the "Save Girls Sports Act" into law. Last week, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed legislation restricting biological male students from playing on female K-12 sports teams. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has similar legislation on his desk.
Similar bills also have been passed in recent months by Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Idaho's Gov. Brad Little signed the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act" last year, but a federal judge granted a motion for a preliminary injunction against it.
As CBN's Faithwire reported in March, a similar bill known as "Save Women's Sports Act" was filed in North Carolina by state Reps. Mark Brody, Pat McElraft, Diane Wheatley, and Jimmy Dixon. And, if approved, it would bar biological males from playing on female teams. North Carolina is the 30th state to file such legislation.
Liberty Counsel's Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, "We commend Florida legislators for protecting the rights of girls and women to excel in sports. We look forward to Governor Ron DeSantis signing this into law. Female athletes train hard to compete and should not lose titles, records, and scholarships that are rightfully theirs and even incur serious sports-related injuries by competing against males."
President Joe Biden's administration has hinted it will fight any measure restricting transgender participation in sports at all levels. During Biden's first speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday, he told transgender youth, "I want you to know that your president has your back."