- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2023

North Carolina became the latest state to ban male-born athletes from female sports and gender-transition procedures for minors as the Republican supermajority overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes.

In a daylong override spree, Republican legislators overturned vetoes Wednesday on a half-dozen bills, including measures related to transgender issues and parental rights.

They included House Bill 808, which prohibits cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers and surgeries for those under 18. The Senate voted 27-18 shortly after the House voted 73-46 to enact the bill over the governor’s objections.

North Carolina requires only a three-fifths (60%) supermajority to override a governor’s veto, less than the two-thirds required in the U.S. Congress and in many other state legislatures.

The legislature also jettisoned the governor’s veto of HB 574, named the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bars male students from participating in female scholastic sports in middle school, high school and universities.

The House vote was 74-45 and the Senate vote was 27-18.

Mr. Cooper blasted the legislature for passing “legislation that discriminates” before passing a budget.

“These are the wrong priorities, especially when they should be working nights and weekends if necessary to get a budget passed by the end of the month,” he said in a statement.

Those cheering the override included North Carolina teen Payton McNabb, who was knocked unconscious during a high school volleyball game last year by a spike from a transgender player on the other team, causing her to suffer blurred vision, partial paralysis on her right side, anxiety and depression.

“Because of this new law in North Carolina, female athletes – my little sister, my cousins, and my teammates – will no longer be forced to risk injury at the hands of a male opponent,” Ms. McNabb said.

“Thank you to the North Carolina legislature for doing what’s right and fair and just, and for showing girls like me that our opportunities and safety are worth defending,” she said.

She attended the vote at the state capitol in Raleigh as part of an Independent Women’s Voice delegation that included 12-time All-American swimmer Riley Gaines, who competed against male-born swimmer Lia Thomas at the 2022 NCAA national championships.

“This legislation puts an end to the unfair and discriminatory practice of ignoring biological differences,” Ms. Gaines said. “What happened to Payton McNabb won’t be allowed to happen to any other girl in North Carolina.”

On the other side was Democratic state Sen. Julie Mayfield, who called the women’s sports bill a “terrible idea” and “completely unnecessary,” given the tiny number of transgender athletes who have sought to play on women’s teams.

“They are not trying to destroy women’s sports. They are not evil or deranged or even misguided. And they are certainly not filth,” she said. “They are just children trying to find their way, trying to find acceptance and support, trying to participate as their peers do, trying to belong.”

The legislation goes into effect for the 2023-24 academic year. The vote makes North Carolina the 23rd state to bar biological males from female sports.

North Carolina also became the 21st state to restrict medicalized gender transitions for those under 18, with Wednesday’s enactment of HB 808.

Medical professionals who violate the measure would have their licenses revoked, and families would have a legal cause of action to sue providers.

The legislature also overrode Mr. Cooper’s veto of HB 49, the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which requires schools to inform parents about a child’s gender transition; establishes a process for objecting to textbooks and instructional materials; and bans instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-4.

“We commend the North Carolina Legislature for overriding the governor’s misguided vetoes,” said Matt Sharp, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel.

“In doing so, they are securing a level playing field for North Carolina’s female athletes, protecting children from life-altering, experimental ‘gender transition’ surgeries and drugs, and preserving parents’ right to direct the care, education, and upbringing of their children,” he said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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