NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WKRN) – Tennessee’s Senate has advanced legislation that would ban transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports. On Monday, 27 Republicans voted in favor of the measure while all six Democratic members voted against it.
The bill has faced heavy criticism that it will likely face costly legal challenges if signed into law. The ACLU has already threatened to sue the state following passage into law.
“This hateful and unconstitutional bill is unnecessary — the bill sponsors have admitted that they do not know of a single instance of a Tennessee student facing any harm from a transgender athlete playing sports,” said Executive Director Hedy Weinberg, in ACLU’s statement. “Protecting women’s sports is important, but transgender girls do not threaten them. The vast majority of transgender students are not elite athletes. They just want to play sports for fun, with friends and classmates, to feel a sense of community and camaraderie, and to learn to respect and work together with coaches and teammates…”
Nearly a dozen states this year have lawmakers backing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for trans minors this year.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Senator Joey Hensley, will head to the House for consideration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.