Back in February and March, HEA 1041 passed easily in both the state House and Senate of the Republican-dominated legislature. However, a rift appeared when Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) unexpectedly vetoed the bill. In his veto letter, Gov. Holcomb said the bill failed “to provide clarity and one consistent state policy regarding the fairness in K-12 sports in Indiana.”
“Student-athletes could be treated differently according to which school they attend and compete for. Frustration of students, parents and administrators will likely follow,” Holcomb wrote. “This of course only increases the likelihood of litigation against our schools with the courts having to adjudicate the uncertainties.”
Holcomb also noted that there have already been lawsuits filed/threatened to be filed regarding the bill. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has said it intends to file a lawsuit against what it called “hateful legislation” in hopes of blocking it from taking effect as scheduled on July 1.
“Any bill brought forward should address the issues raised in these lawsuits,” Holcomb wrote.
Opponents of the Indiana transgender sports ban bill have argued the bill is a bigoted response to a problem that doesn’t exist. The Indiana High School Athletic Association has said it has had no transgender girls finalize a request to play on a female team. The bill also doesn’t say anything about students who identify as female or transgender males from playing on boys sports teams.
If the veto override goes through as expected Tuesday, Indiana would join more than a dozen states in instituting a transgender sports ban over the past couple of years. Holcomb’s veto came a day before Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R) vetoed a similar ban on grounds that such laws target vulnerable children who are already at high risk of suicide. Utah’s Republican lawmakers overrode the veto days later.