Gov. Hutchinson signs “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act”

Updated: Mar. 25, 2021 at 7:36 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - A bill that prohibit transgender women from playing women’s sports in Arkansas was signed into law Thursday.

According to a media release, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he signed SB354, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” into law.

“Today, I have signed into law SB354 called the ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act’. I have studied the law and heard from hundreds of constituents on this issue. I signed the law as a fan of women’s sports from basketball to soccer and including many others in which women compete successfully,” Gov. Hutchinson said in the media release. “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. As I have stated previously, I agree with the intention of this law. This will help promote and maintain fairness in women’s sporting events.”

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View), had nearly 50 co-sponsors and received support in both the state House and state Senate. The bill was approved 75-18 in the state House and 28-7 in the state Senate.

Content partner KATV reported this week that opponents to the bill said it was discrimination against transgendered Arkansans.

“Just leave us alone! We’re fine the way we are,” Sarah Vestal said. “We don’t need laws or regulations telling us where we can go or what we can do. We have enough of a struggle already.”

However, Sen. Irvin told KATV that the bill protects women’s sports.

“There is nothing in my bill that bans any individual from participating in or competing in athletics. It clearly states the categories of athletics and who is eligible to compete in those categories based on their actual biological sex,” Sen. Irvin told KATV.

Arkansas is the second state to approve such a bill this year and to enact such a restriction. Medical and child welfare groups have objected to the bill, saying it would have a devastating impact on trans youth, according to the Associated Press.

The bill does not have an emergency clause and will take effect later this summer.

Region 8 News will have more details as they become available.

Copyright 2021 KAIT. All rights reserved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.