Alabama House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that will require K-12 athletes to join teams based on the biological sex listed on their birth certificates, according to the Associated Press.
The state House voted 74-19 approving the bill after Republicans ended a filibuster, the AP reported. The proposed legislation now moves to the Alabama Senate.
A similar bill was signed into law last week in Mississippi by Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, while South Carolina lawmakers rejected Tuesday a law that could prevent transgender athletes from competing with females in schools and colleges. (RELATED: Mississippi Becomes First State To Ban Transgender Students From Women’s Sports)
Rep. Scott Stadthagen, a Republican lawmaker that sponsored the bill, said that it would provide a “fair, level playing field for female athletes,” according to the Montgomery Advertiser. “It is unfair for biological males to compete against females in high school sports,” he explained his motives for pushing the measure.
“I feel sorry for the kids you’re talking about, I really do,” Scott said referring to transgender athletes struggling to find a place to fit in. “But what about the females who have worked since they started at four years old, and they get to high school and all their dreams and scholarships yanked before their eyes?”
Democratic legislators expressed doubts regarding the need for such a bill, noting that athletic associations and not legislative bodies should make such decisions, according to the report. The House Democrats also challenged their Republican colleagues to cite specific instances of transgender athletes dominating female sports in the state, which the Republicans reportedly failed to do.
The Alabama House Health Committee has previously advanced a bill that would outlaw using hormonal treatments and puberty blockers to treat minors.