The Republican-controlled House voted along party lines - 219 to 203 - to pass the legislation, officially dubbed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, on Thursday, April 20.
Introduced by Florida Republican Rep. Greg Steube, the legislation bars schools and colleges from “operating, sponsoring, or facilitating athletic programs or activities that allow individuals of the male sex to participate in programs or activities that are designated for women or girls.”
Schools that allow transgender female athletes would be found in violation of Title IX, the 1972 federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools that receive federal funding.
The bill defines sex as “based on an individual's reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
Those assigned male at birth would still be allowed to train or practice with programs or activities for women or girls “as long as such training or practice does not deprive any female of corresponding opportunities or benefits," reads the bill text.
Several high-profile lawmakers praised its passage, including New York Rep. George Santos, one of four Republicans from the Empire State to co-sponsor the bill.
“I want to thank my colleagues who voted in support of protecting women’s sports,” Santos said in a statement.
“50 years ago, Congress passed Title IX that encouraged but most importantly protected women’s sports. Sadly, the Biden Administration have chosen to abandon women and give an unfair advantage to transgender athletes who were born as a biological male and compete with female athletes.
“The Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act safeguards opportunities for women and girls to excel in sports on a fair playing field and keeping the far-left radical agenda from infringing upon our schools."
Democrats, meanwhile, have blasted the move, with Washington State Rep. Pramila Jayapal, whose daughter is transgender, accusing Republicans of scapegoating transgender children to score political points.
"These bills tell some of the most vulnerable children in our country that they do not belong," Jayapal said. "Shame on you."
The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it has little chance of passing.
President Joe Biden has promised to veto the legislation should it reach his desk, calling it discriminatory.
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