South Carolina Transgender Sports Bill Becomes Law

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Monday signed a bill into law banning transgender students from playing in gender-based sports teams at schools and colleges, saying it was common sense that “boys should play boys sports and girls should play girls sports.”

“The Save Women’s Sports Act is now the law of the land in South Carolina,” he wrote on Twitter on May 17. “We have to do everything we can to protect the young men and women in our state who choose to pursue athletic competition, and that’s why I proudly signed this bill into law yesterday.”

South Carolina’s governor quietly signed the bill without ceremony, joining a dozen other mostly conservative states that passed similar laws in the last couple of years.

The Save Women’s Sports Act requires certain public school sports teams to ensure biological males, as designated on their birth certificates, only play in sports teams designated for males, unless the school does not offer a team for females in that sport.

The bill also provides that female sports teams cannot be open to biological males.

The law extends to private schools and institutions that sponsor teams that play against public school teams, with students able to seek remedy for any violations of the new law.

“It is the intent of the General Assembly to maintain opportunities for female athletes to demonstrate their strength, skills, and athletic abilities, and to provide them with opportunities to obtain recognition and accolades, college scholarships, and numerous other long-term benefits that result from participating and competing in athletic endeavors,” the wording of the bill states.

The bill was passed on April 10 before McMaster signed it into law this week.

Proponents of the bill argued that without such laws, female sports could be dominated by transgender athletes who were born with the biological advantages of male physiology that make them stronger.

This contention has been demonstrated by transgender swimmers claiming the top podiums at meets in the United States and beyond.

Opponents to the bill, including Ivy Hill, a leader of an LGBT coalition, took the position that the ban targets regular students who just want to participate in sports, not become elite athletes.

However, the lawyer for a conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom said that when laws ignore biological differences, it’s women and girls who “bear the brunt of the harm.”

“We welcome South Carolina to the growing number of states that have acted to preserve fair competition for all females, whether in grade school or college,” said alliance attorney Christiana Kiefer in a statement.

Idaho was the first state to pass such a law in 2020, followed by West Virginia, but they have been blocked by courts.

Oklahoma, Arizona, and Tennessee passed similar laws in March and April.

From The Epoch Times