Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Signs ‘Safer Act’ to Preserve Single-Sex Spaces in Education

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
May 15, 2024Politics
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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves Signs ‘Safer Act’ to Preserve Single-Sex Spaces in Education
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Sept. 28, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) signed a bill into law on Monday that he described as a “win for girls and women,” requiring people in public education buildings to use restrooms that align with their biological sex, not their “gender identity.”

The legislation, known as the Securing Areas for Females Effectively and Responsibly (SAFER) Act, mandates that all public education institutions have single-sex restrooms, changing areas, and dormitories.

This effectively bans men who identify as women from using women’s restrooms and changing rooms.

Under the SAFER Act, students are also granted the right to be housed in single-sex educational housing spaces with individuals of the same sex.

Social fraternities and sororities operating single-sex housing facilities on public lands are also required to comply with state law regarding single-sex housing.

The legislation restricts access to sex-designated facilities, allowing individuals to enter only those facilities designated for their biological sex, except under specific circumstances such as accompanying a child or for emergency purposes.

The legislation includes enforcement and legal provisions, permitting private enforcement and authorizing the attorney general to enforce compliance.

Furthermore, it provides definitions for terms such as “female,” “male,” and “sex,” emphasizing biological characteristics as the determining factor for sex. According to the legislation, sex is defined as “‘solely determined by a birth’ without regard to the fluidity of how someone acts or feels.’”

In a statement, Mr. Reeves confirmed that he signed the bill into law on Monday morning, calling it a “common sense” policy and expressing bemusement that protecting women’s spaces had become necessary after the Biden administration changed Title IX rules.

“The far-left radicals aren’t going to like it … but in Mississippi, we’re going to protect women’s spaces,” he wrote on social media platform X.

“We have to pass a law to protect women in bathrooms, sororities, locker rooms, dressing rooms, shower rooms, and more,” he added.

The governor pledged to “push back” on any more “kooky ideas that harm biological women.”

The bill, passed during the 2024 Regular Session of the Mississippi Legislature, is part of a series of conservative-led initiatives targeting LGBT policies that Republicans believe impact the safety and integrity of women-only spaces and sports.

Recently, the U.S. Education Department announced revisions to Title IX, broadening its scope to include gender identity and sexual orientation among the protected categories under the sex discrimination law applicable to federally funded schools and education programs.

The federal department’s rulemaking interpreted federal law to allow individuals who identify as transgender to use facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms that do not correspond with their biological sex, should they choose to do so.

This interpretation has been upheld by several states via legislation allowing transgender people to use restrooms that align with their “gender identity,” rather than requiring them to use spaces designated for their biological sex.

Mississippi is among 15 Republican-led states that have sued the Biden administration over the new Title IX regulations.

Title IX, an element of the Educational Amendments of 1972, was formulated to establish equality between men and women in most aspects of education.

Some states also specifically allow the use of restrooms or changing rooms that align with an individual’s chosen “gender identity.”

Through a mixture of changes to state law and court orders, over a dozen states allow individuals to use restrooms that are designated for the opposite sex. These include Delaware, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York state, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

On the other hand, certain states have laws, rules, or court decisions in place to protect some single-sex spaces. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas.

From The Epoch Times

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