The Alliance Defending Freedom rebuked South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem for caving to “woke corporate ideology” by refusing to sign a bill protecting women’s sports, effectively “gutting protections for collegiate athletes” and dismissing legal options for females who are forced to compete against biological males.
“Gov. Noem had an opportunity to protect women and girls by signing the Fairness in Women’s Sports bill, but instead she pandered to the demands of special interests,” ADF general counsel Kristen Waggoner said in a statement. “In what was an abuse of her ‘style and form’ veto power, she gutted protections for collegiate athletes and took away legal recourse for girls forced to compete against biological boys. We are shocked that a governor who claims to be a firebrand conservative with a rising national profile would cave to ‘woke’ corporate ideology.”
Noem previously rejected the bill, sending it back to the state legislature for revisions and citing concerns that the bill was “unrealistic in the context of collegiate athletics” and would hurt teams’ standing with collegiate sports associations. She also claimed it created an “unworkable administrative burden on schools, which under its terms must collect verification forms from every student-athlete every year.” Waggoner, however, said this argument is unfounded and merely being used as an excuse.
“The governor tried to explain her betrayal with claims that her hands were tied by NCAA policy. But there is no NCAA policy that requires schools to allow males to compete on women’s teams as Gov. Noem suggests,” Waggoner said. “The governor also vetoed the part of the bill that gives girls any legal recourse against unfair policies that arise. What’s left is mere lip service for women and girls forced to compete against biological males.”
Waggoner also noted that the Republican’s future as a potential frontrunner for the GOP in the 2024 presidential election grows dimmer each day she refuses to sign the bill and that a damage control press conference will not do much to stop that.
“The governor intends to have a press conference launching an initiative Monday to control the damage to her credibility and political image. Politicians launch belated ‘initiatives’ for political theater and to create distractions,” Waggoner said. “Our hope is that Gov. Noem will reverse course and make this right by signing the bill passed overwhelmingly by the South Dakota Legislature. Anything less — including an ‘initiative’ promoted by a few athletes at a press conference — will be more empty words.”
Noem plans to address how she intends to “defend fairness in women’s sports” in a Monday morning press conference.