Bill banning transgender women athletes reaches Montana governor’s desk

Demonstrators gather on the Montana Capitol’s steps on April 19, 2021, to protest House Bill 112 that would bar transgender women athletes from participating on K-16 women’s’ sports teams. (Daily Montanan file photo)

(Daily Montanan) House Bill 112 is officially on its way to Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk after passing its third reading in the House and Senate Friday.

The highly controversial bill, which has recently been vetoed by Republican governors in other states, would require transgender women to play on the K-16 sports team correlating with the gender on their birth certificate.

The bill’s sponsor, John Fuller, R-Whitefish, has said the bill is necessary to protect women sports — a claim that hundreds of women college athletes in Montana have rebuked.

Multiple rallies have been held outside the Capitol where demonstrators said the bill will further discriminate against and stigmatize the trans community. Within the doors of the state building, lawmakers have tried to appeal to Republicans by laying out the possible financial risks of the bill, including federal education money being withheld and the loss of revenue if the National Collegiate Athletic Association pulls championship games from the state.

An amendment to the bill, which would render it void if the federal government determines it violates Title IX and an appeal by the state fails, passed both chambers on Thursday.