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NH Senate votes to ban transgender girls from girls’ sports: Will Sununu sign it?

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Senate voted Wednesday to ban transgender girls from competing on girls’ sports teams.

House Bill 1205 would ban New Hampshire students in grades 5 through 12 from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Now that it has passed both chambers, the bill will next go to Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. If he signs it, the Granite State will join at least 24 states nationwide with similar bans on transgender student-athletes.

Iris Turmelle, 14, testifies before the House Education Committee on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, against House Bill 1205, which would ban transgender girls from participating in women's sports.

Iris Turmelle, 14, testifies before the House Education Committee on Monday, Jan. 29, 2024, against House Bill 1205, which would ban transgender girls from participating in women’s sports.

The Senate vote fell along party lines, with Republicans voting in favor, 13-10. Sen. Denise Ricciardi, R-Bedford, was excused after falling ill. All ten Democrats voted against the bill.

“I am a woman”: NH transgender students had fought back against the sports ban law

Republican senators are also voting for a bill that could exclude students

Senators also voted 13-10, along party lines, to pass HB 1312, which would expand sex education notification requirements and prevent schools from adopting policies that require teachers to withhold information about children’s well-being when parents do so to ask.

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Senate Republicans say the bill would give parents a “bigger voice in the classroom.” Opponents of the bill have raised concerns that the bill would lead to censorship in the classroom and potentially lead to school staff “sending out” students to their families before they are ready, in some cases putting them at risk.

NH Republicans and Democrats disagree in debate over transgender student-athletes

Republican senators said HB 1205 will promote fairness and safety in women’s sports.

Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, resigned his position to join the discussion.

“Girls play hard. They play well. My daughter, when she hit the ball it went far, so I was pretty proud of her, but boys have an advantage,” Bradley said. “We will never be able to legislate total honesty. But what we cannot do is create rights for some at the expense of others.”

Senator Dan Innis, a Republican, said he met Caitlyn Jenner, a transgender woman known for her connection to the Kardashian-Jenner family and Olympic prowess, through Innis’ work for the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative organization that advocates for the LGBT+ community. . Innis said Jenner told him this legislation is a “common sense approach to high school sports” because “Jenner in high school would have destroyed every female athlete he ever encountered if he were menopausal.” Jenner transitioned years after winning gold in the Olympic decathlon.

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Sen. Suzanne Prentiss, D-Lebanon, and Sen. Donovan Fenton, D-Keene, pushed back on the legislation, questioning how the law would be enforced and how a student’s gender would be determined under the bill, since birth certificates can be changed to reflect one’s gender identity.

“Do we ask male coaches to check the genitals of a ten-year-old girl?” Fenton asked. “Or do administrators go directly to students and privately ask them to pull down their pants? The vagueness of this bill makes it completely unclear how the school will meet this requirement.”

Democratic senators also questioned Republicans’ claim that the bill is about helping girls.

“If there were such a deep and abiding concern for girls’ sports opportunities, we would commit fidelity to Title IX and provide equal opportunity for investment and participation in school sports for all genders,” said Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham. “If anyone should be targeted for stealing thousands of athletic playing opportunities from girls and women, it should be boys’ and men’s athletic programs, not a very small number of transgender students.”

Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham.Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham.

Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham.

Will Sununu sign the ban on trans athletes?

The ACLU of New Hampshire urged Sununu to veto the bill banning trans athletes.

“Trans students belong on our sports teams and in our schools, and all trans youth should be celebrated and protected for who they are. HB 1205 goes against federal and state law and would discriminate against transgender youth in ways that endanger their health, social and emotional development, and safety,” said Courtney Reed, policy attorney at the ACLU-NH, in a statement. “Governor Sununu has made it clear that LGBTQ+ people are valued members of our Granite State community, and we ask him to immediately stop this deeply harmful legislation and veto any hostile legislation developed today as soon as it reaches his desk. .”

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In 2018, Sununu signed a bill to ban discrimination based on gender identity, saying any discrimination is “contrary to the Live Free or Die spirit of New Hampshire.” He was criticized by social conservatives in the state.

Last year, he joined 24 other Republican governors in signing a letter criticizing the Biden administration’s proposal to ban sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. The plan would prohibit schools from banning transgender students from joining sports teams that align with their gender identity. Sununu said at the time that his concern was about “local control.” The final regulations were released in April by the U.S. Department of Education, which stated that the “regulatory process is still ongoing for a Title IX rulemaking regarding athletics.”

In March, Sununu told WMUR that he “doesn’t believe biological boys should participate in girls’ sports,” and that it is “dangerous,” but that he planned to wait and see what HB 1205 says when it reaches his desk. .

Sununu’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the bills the Senate voted on this week.

Editor’s note: Sen. Debra Altschiller, D-Stratham, is the wife of Howard Altschiller, editor-in-chief of Seacoast Media Group.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: NH Senate votes to ban transgender girls from girls’ sports

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