Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill Thursday that bans biological men who identify as women from participating in school sports.
Hutchinson signed the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” after it was passed by the State House earlier this week, KAIT reported. Earlier in March, Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signed a similar bill into law, sparking nationwide controversy on the topic of whether transgender women can participate in women’s sports.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs law banning #transgender women and girls from competing in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity; it’s the second state to approve such a restriction this year. #LGBTQhttps://t.co/JWcxGZOO9V
— David Crary (@CraryAP) March 25, 2021
The bill was met with fierce criticism when it was introduced, with critics arguing that it puts transgender Arkansas residents at risk, KAIT reported. Shortly after the bill was signed, Governor Hutchinson issued a press statement through his website defending his decision.
“This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition,” the statement read, adding that the bill will “promote and maintain” fairness in women’s sports. (RELATED: ‘Women’s Sports, As We Know It, Will Die’: Trump Hammers Biden Administration’s Policy On Transgender Athletes)
NEW: Gov. @AsaHutchinson has signed SB 354 into law – the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act bans transgender girls and women from playing on female sports teams in Arkansas. #arnews #arpx @KATVNews pic.twitter.com/ig8IihsKxb
— Marine Glisovic KATV (@KATVMarine) March 25, 2021
Representatives in other states, such as North Carolina, are introducing bills aimed at banning biological males from competing in women’s sports. Meanwhile, Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem rejected a version of the bill, asking the state legislature to rework some of the language in the bill she considered “vague.”