By Corinne Murdock |
The “Save Women’s Sports Act,” a bill prohibiting transgender women from competing in K-12 and collegiate women’s sports, advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
State Senator Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) introduced the bill, SB1165, but was absent from the committee hearing. Matt Sharp, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), spoke on behalf of Barto. Sharp recounted several instances of biological men that identified as transgender women dominating in women’s sports, and the losses that biological women faced. Sharp further explained the constitutional and legal support that the bill had in ensuring a “fair and level playing field” for women, citing opinions from the Arizona and federal supreme courts.
“It protects opportunities for women and girls, by ensuring women are not forced to compete against men playing on women’s teams,” said Sharp.
State Senator Martin Quezada (D-Glendale) asked Sharp if Arizona had experienced any instances or issues with transgender women in girl’s sports. Sharp responded that the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) policy allows males to compete in women’s sports. Quezada insisted that a problem hadn’t occurred yet, insinuating that the bill wasn’t necessary; Sharp retorted that the intent of the bill was to be preventative.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Vince Leach (R-Tucson), asked if there were some kind of walls that would keep out the issues of males competing in female sports. Sharp affirmed that he’d witnessed states expressing regret for not taking proactive measures to prevent males from intruding on female sports.
“It’s never a bad time to implement good policy,” remarked Chairman Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert).
Several community members testified, both for and against the bill — including one transgender woman. He said he supported the bill.
“Believe me when I say this is not an attack on transness at all. This bill has nothing to do with that. All this bill has to do with is biological sex, biological reality, alright? So the reality is, we’re stronger, we’re taller, we have bigger bones, we can take in more oxygen, we have a better fat distribution that gives us an advantage in taking hits, right, we have stronger ligaments. There are very clear, obvious advantages,” stated the transgender woman.
Quezada was joined in voting against the bill by Assistant Minority Leader Lupe Contreras (D-Avondale) and Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-Tucson). Those who voted to pass the bill in addition to Leach and Petersen were Vice Chairman Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff) and Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli (R-Lake Havasu City).