OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Women’s sports has been a hot topic for the last few weeks, after a transgender woman won an NCAA swimming race. Today, a controversial bill that would make that participation illegal became law in Oklahoma.
Last year, the State Senate failed to hear SB2, what its authors call the “Save Women’s Sports” bill. This year the Senate Pro Temp. Greg Treat said due to that recent event, circumstances have changed.
The bill passed through last week to the Governor’s desk.
“How is it fair for female track athletes or swimmers who have been training since they were 12 years old to lose in a high school competition to a biological male? It’s simply not fair and it won’t happen in the state of Oklahoma,” said Governor Kevin Stitt.
On Wednesday, Governor Stitt signed the bill into law in front of a packed house of legislators and female athletes.
SB2 prohibits anyone born biologically male from playing on school athletic teams designated for females, women, or girls.
Sen. Julie Daniel of Bartlesville saying, “Five decades of Title IX is going to be very quickly undone taking the scholarships. What about the opportunities for young women? what about leveling the playing field so they can compete at the high level?”
“I want to protect her every young woman from having to compete against a guy in their sport. Losing out on scholarships and opportunities and educate benefits is just not right,” said Sen. Micheal Bergstrom of Adair.
But opponents say the bill is written out of fear and ignorance.
“SB2 is a dangerous, harmful, slippery slope. It’s more than just about sports. This is a slippery slope. Bills like this have a horrifying implication and a ripple effect on our young ones,” said LGBTQ+ activist, Kendra Wilson Clements.
However, female athletes at the signing today see things differently.
“I believe that all young women deserve the opportunity to excel at whatever sport they choose to be passionate about,” Levi Gladd, current OU athlete.
Last year, the NCAA said they would pull their events from states that passed similar bills. But NCAA championships have been held in some of the 12 states that have similar legislation in the last 12 months.
“Even if NCAA has problem with it, we are going to do what’s right for all these ladies behind me,” said Stitt.
The OU Athletics Department sending out this statement,
“The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department continues to embrace diversity and inclusion and is committed to creating an environment of belonging where those who play for us, work for us and support us are welcomed as their true, authentic selves. We are proud of our long and successful record of hosting NCAA championship events and recognize the opportunities and enjoyment they afford everyone involved, as well as the positive economic impact they have on our communities and our state. We are devoted to working alongside the NCAA to ensure an atmosphere of respect, equal treatment and safety for all.”
“SB2 is simply trying to solve a problem that does not exist in the State,” said Cindy Nguyen of ACLU Oklahoma.
The OSSAA confirms there have been no documented cases where this has been a problem, but issued a statement saying:
“With Governor Stitt signing the Save Women’s Sports Act in to law this morning at the State Capitol, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association will now comply with the new state law.”
“If it’s not happening in Oklahoma, then great, there is nothing to worry about. But we are making sure it doesn’t happen,” said Stitt.
But the State of Oklahoma may have other problems on the horizon when it comes to SB2, namely lawsuits.
“So we truly believe that these are unconstitutional. We think we have Supreme Court case law on our side,” said Tamya Cox-Toure of ACLU Oklahoma.
“People can pursue their life how they see fit, but that doesn’t give you the right to compete in women’s sports,” said Stitt.
We reached out to the NCAA for official comment we have not heard back.