Texas governor signs bill to protect women’s sports amid protests

Bill aims to preserve fair competition in women’s sports

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the “Save Women’s Sports Act” into law on Monday, August 7, 2023, in a ceremony at the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame at Texas Woman’s University in Denton. The bill, which was passed by the state legislature in June, prohibits transgender athletes from competing in women’s and girls’ sports at public schools and colleges.

protect women’s sports amid protests

The bill’s supporters say it is necessary to preserve fair competition and protect the opportunities and achievements of female athletes. They argue that biological males have inherent physical advantages over females and that allowing them to compete in women’s sports would undermine the purpose and spirit of Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in education.

Among the supporters who attended the signing ceremony were former NCAA Division 1 athletes Riley Gaines and Paula Scanlan, who have spoken out against transgender participation in women’s sports. Gaines, a 12-time NCAA All-American swimmer, gained prominence for challenging transgender swimmer Lia Thomas in 2022, who dominated the women’s swimming events and broke several records. Scanlan, a former volleyball player and coach, testified in favor of the bill at the state capitol earlier this year.

Protesters clash with supporters outside the ceremony

The signing ceremony was met with fierce opposition from protesters who gathered outside the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. An estimated 250 protesters chanted slogans and held signs denouncing the bill as discriminatory, hateful, and transphobic. They also targeted the supporters of the bill, especially Gaines and Scanlan, with insults and threats.

According to eyewitnesses, some of the protesters became violent and threw water bottles, eggs, and other objects at the supporters as they entered and exited the building. Some of them also spat on, pushed, and hit the supporters, including Michelle Evans, the Austin chapter leader of Independent Women’s Network, a conservative group that advocates for women’s rights and freedoms.

Evans told Fox News Digital that she was assaulted by a woman in a pink ski mask and sunglasses who spit into her open eye. She said she wanted to press charges and that the police issued a citation for misdemeanor assault to the suspect. A public information officer with the Texas Woman’s University Police Department confirmed that one suspect was apprehended and cited for assault.

Evans said she was most alarmed by the treatment of the young girls who attended the signing ceremony with their mothers. She said the protesters got in their faces and screamed and harassed them, frightening them.

Governor defends bill as a matter of fairness and justice

Gov. Abbott defended the bill as a matter of fairness and justice for female athletes who work hard to excel in their sports. He said the bill ensures that every child in Texas has a level playing field to compete and achieve their dreams.

He also praised Gaines and Scanlan for their courage and leadership in standing up for women’s sports. He said they are role models for young girls who aspire to be athletes and that they deserve respect and recognition for their accomplishments.

He said he was proud to sign the bill into law and that Texas will always support women’s sports and protect the integrity of athletic competition.

Bill faces legal challenges from civil rights groups

The bill is expected to face legal challenges from civil rights groups who claim it violates the constitutional rights of transgender students. They say the bill is based on misinformation and stereotypes about transgender people and that it will harm their mental health and well-being.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas has announced that it will sue the state over the bill, along with other groups such as Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign, Equality Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas, and Texas Freedom Network.

The ACLU of Texas said in a statement that the bill is part of a “coordinated attack” on transgender youth by state lawmakers who have introduced more than 30 anti-transgender bills this year. The group said it will fight to stop the bill from taking effect and to protect the rights and dignity of transgender students.

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