The Arizona House passed a bill on Tuesday that would ban the participation of males who identify as female in women’s sports programs in the state.
After an hours-long debate, the chamber passed the legislation 31-29 along party lines with Republicans in favor. The bill was sponsored by State Representative Nancy Barto (R., Phoenix), who argued that the participation of transgender women in women’s sports was unfair to female athletes, especially if sports scholarships for universities are on the line.
“Shot puts are heavier for boys. Girls’ basketballs are smaller. It makes a difference,” Barto said during the debate, in comments reported by the Arizona Republic. Later on, Barto said “This is a pro-woman bill. This is a bill to save women’s sports because, frankly, it won’t be saved if we don’t clarify the law.”
The legislation would require an athlete whose sex was in dispute to establish their sex through a genetic test. Initially the bill required a doctor’s sworn statement outlining the athlete’s “internal and external reproductive anatomy” and “normal endogenously produced levels of testosterone,” in addition to genetic testing.
The additional requirements, since dropped, had led Democrats to decry the bill as invasive, with state representative Daniel Hernandez (D., Tuscon) labeling it the “show me your genitals law.” The bill will now head to the state senate.
In her arguments, Barto also cited a lawsuit brought by three female high school students in Connecticut seeking to ban transgender athletes from women’s sports. Each of the students has failed to qualify for various titles and competitions after they were bested by transgender athletes.