A bill that would limit participation in Iowa girls sports to athletes who have female marked on their birth certificate has cleared the House Education Committee.
Representative Skyler Wheeler, a Republican from Orange City, said similar legislation had passed in other states.
“The State of Iowa has a very strong interest to step up and defend girls sports and ensure that they have a level playing field,” Wheeler says, “and we’re not going to destroy their opportunity to compete at varsity sports, to get scholarships and to get the fame that they deserve.”
Representative Mary Mascher, a Democrat from Iowa City, said the legislature’s job is to protect transgender girls and make sure they’re treated fairly.
“This bill creates a barrier for a small, small group of children who are already marginalized by society,” Mascher said. “…No child should face state-sanctioned bullying.”
Mascher and six other Democrats on the committee voted against the bill. All 14 Republicans present voted for it and the bill is now eligible for debate in the full House.
Governor Reynolds called on the Republican-led legislature to take action on this issue last April. The executive director of Iowa Safe Schools said studies have shown no conclusive link between sex assigned at birth and sporting outcomes and the bill will “put educators, school districts, and students in an impossible situation.”