President Biden would veto legislation to bar transgender women and girls from competing on female sports teams if it reaches his desk, the White House warned Monday, denouncing House Republicans’ bill as “unnecessary” and discriminatory.
“If the President were presented with H.R. 734, he would veto it,” the White House said Monday in a Statement of Administration Policy.
The measure, known as the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act,” would amend Title IX, the federal civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in education, to recognize sex as that which is “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
The measure was introduced in February by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.), who said in a statement at the time that transgender female athletes have “no place in women’s sports.” This is Steube’s third attempt at passing the bill, which failed to advance during the last two Congresses, when Democrats controlled the House.
While Republicans now have a majority in the lower chamber, the bill stands no chance in the Democratic-majority Senate.
“As a national ban that does not account for competitiveness or grade level, H.R. 734 targets people for who they are and therefore is discriminatory,” the White House said Monday. “Politicians should not dictate a one-size-fits-all requirement that forces coaches to remove kids from their teams.”
The Biden administration earlier this month took aim at recent state-led efforts to broadly ban transgender athletes from competing on sports teams that match their gender identity in a slate of proposed changes to Title IX.
The administration’s proposal, which must undergo a period of public comment, would prohibit states or school districts from enacting one-size-fits-all policies that “categorically” ban transgender athletes from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity, but it stops short of prohibiting schools from adopting rules that limit athletic participation based on a set of sex-related “eligibility criteria.”
K-12 schools under the proposal would retain the ability to limit transgender athletes’ participation in sports, if they determine that including them would undermine competitive fairness or increase the risk of sports-related injuries, a senior Education Department official told reporters this month.
Some LGBTQ advocates have criticized the proposal, which they say provides guidelines for schools to legally ban transgender athletes from sports.
The White House on Monday said it condemned Steube’s and the House GOP’s effort to establish an “absolute ban” on transgender athletes.
“As a national ban that does not account for competitiveness or grade level, H.R. 734 targets people for who they are and therefore is discriminatory,” it said.
“At a time when transgender youth already face a nationwide mental health crisis, with half of transgender youth in a recent survey saying they have seriously considered suicide, a national law that further stigmatizes these children is completely unnecessary, hurts families and students, and would only put students at greater risk,” the White House added. “Discrimination has no place in our nation’s schools or on our playing fields.”
H.R. 734, which has 93 Republican co-sponsors, is set to be heard Monday by the House Committee on Rules.
At least 21 states since 2020 have enacted laws or policies that bar transgender athletes from participating on sports teams consistent with their gender identity, according to the Movement Advancement Project, which tracks laws that impact the nation’s LGBTQ community.
More than 460 state bills targeting the rights of LGBTQ Americans, including the most anti-transgender bills on record, have been introduced this year in state legislatures nationwide.