NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A controversial transgender sports bill requiring students to prove their sex at birth in order to play middle and high school sports is heading to Governor Bill Lee‘s desk to be signed into law.
The bill passed the Tennessee House on the third consideration Monday with a vote of 71-16 with 5 not voting. It had advanced the Tennessee Senate earlier this month.
The bill was backed by Republican lawmakers and drew criticism from Democratic lawmakers who say the bill is a waste of time. Governor Bill Lee signaled his support for the legislation saying transgender athletes “will destroy women’s sports.”
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 Associated Press contributed to this report.