South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem defended her Friday decision to sign a “style and form” veto on a transgender sports bill passed this month on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Monday, claiming the bill was a losing fight.
The bill put on her desk March 10 would have banned biological males from participation in women’s sports. Noem sent the bill back to the legislature with changes that gut the legislation after pressure escalated from South Dakota corporate interests led by the Chamber of Commerce to veto. Noem previously said on International Women’s Day, March 8, she was “excited” to sign the bill, before very publicly changing course.
“You said you were excited to sign it, big business intercedes, NCAA, Chamber of Commerce, and Amazon, and tell you not to sign it and you change your mind,” Carlson pressed. “I think a lot of our viewers are wondering your thinking on this, and how exactly it happened.”
Noem immediately insisted that was wrong and claimed the bill opened the door to a cascade of unwinnable litigation. Noem axed the bill’s provisions that applied protections to female athletes attending institutions of higher education and eliminated avenues for girls in K-12 schools to seek legal remedies when harmed by the inclusion of biological males competing in their leagues.
“As I looked at the bill and examined it, and have been discussing with legal scholars for many months on how to protect women’s sports, this bill would only allow the NCAA to bully South Dakota,” Noem said, “and it would actually prevent women from being able to participate in collegiate sports.”
Independent legal groups, however, including the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) pointed out that similar laws were recently passed in Idaho and Mississippi, and their experiences show these claims of incessant litigation following are false.
Kristen Waggoner, the general counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom told The Federalist Noem’s comments on Carlson’s program were “intentionally misleading or she is uninformed,” particularly on claims supporters of the bill are fighting a losing legal battle.
“There is no NCAA policy that requires any state school to allow men to compete against women,” Waggoner said. “The Fairness in Women’s Sports bill does not violate any law or any NCAA policy. Schools have the freedom to make this decision and other states have passed similar bills.”
Waggoner characterized Noem’s Monday press conference, in which she announced a new coalition to protect girls’ sports and touted the group on Carlson’s show, as “political theater.” Waggoner pointed out ADF already leads a large coalition to oppose the transgender insanity imposed on women’s sports leagues.
“With her recommendations, the bill offers mere lip service to women and girls who seek equal opportunities in athletics,” Waggoner said.