Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has vetoed a bill that, if enacted, would have banned boys who identify as female from competing in scholastic sports designated for girls.
Wolf vetoed House Bill 972 last week, saying in a statement that he believed the proposed legislation was “discriminatory, unnecessary, and incredibly harmful.”
“I have been crystal clear during my time in office that hate has no place in Pennsylvania, especially discrimination against already marginalized youth representing less than half of 1 percent of Pennsylvania’s population,” stated Wolf. “The fact that this bill passed through Pennsylvania’s Republican-led General Assembly solely to bully and oppress vulnerable children is atrocious.”
The governor went on to state that his administration was “committed to supporting transgender individuals and ensuring Pennsylvania is an inclusive place for everyone.”
The American Principles Project, a socially conservative group that has successfully advocated for similar legislation in other states, denounced Wolf's veto.
“Every girl athlete deserves access to a fair playing field and an equal opportunity to compete for scholarships and titles. Ensuring female sports are reserved for women and girls ought to be a no-brainer,” said APP President Terry Schilling in a statement released Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, thanks to the actions of Gov. Wolf and his Democrat allies, athletic opportunities for Pennsylvania girls are now under serious threat.”
Schilling asserted that, in his view, the veto “will not help” Pennsylvania Democrats “with Pennsylvania voters, a strong majority of whom support protecting women’s sports.”
“This will be a serious liability for Democrats in November, and Republicans like Doug Mastriano are smart to be drawing this contrast,” Schilling continued.
“As long as Democrats continue to side against biological reality and sanity, they should expect to pay a political price. And that begins this fall.”
Several states have passed laws banning male athletes from competing in girls’ sports due in part to concerns over fairness in athletic competitions because they have a physical advantage over female athletes.
Last month, Louisiana became the 18th state to pass such a law when Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards did not sign or veto a bill within 10 days of the Secretary of the Senate delivering the bill to him, as required by state law.
Other states with similar laws on the books include Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Pennsylvania has been a focal point of the debate over trans-identified athletes competing in girls' sports due to University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas, formerly known as Will Thomas.
Born male but presently identifying as female, Thomas has won multiple titles and broken records for National Collegiate Athletic Association women's swimming.
Thomas' participation in the women's competitions came despite objections from many groups and fellow members of Pennsylvania University's women's swim team.