Ron DeSantis made major waves this week he signed a controversial bill into law that effectively bans transgender athletes from competing in high school girls' and college women's sports.
Asked about the timing of the bill signing by Florida Politics, DeSantis contended there was no hidden message to LGBTQ people in signing one of the most controversial bills of his tenure.
Florida on Tuesday became the latest and largest US state to ban transgender girls and women from participating in female sports at schools, part of a campaign in statehouses nationwide this year assailed as discriminatory by equal rights activists.
House Bill 1475 makes participation in athletics contingent on determining students' "biological sex", a disputed term that refers to the sex assigned at birth. The proposal allows another student to sue if a school allows a transgender girl or woman to play on a team intended for biological females.
"At the end of the day, if the price of giving opportunities that can last a lifetime for all girls in the state of Florida is that we lose an event or two, I would choose to protect our girls every day of the week and twice on Sunday", DeSantis said.
(2) LEGISLATIVE INTENT. -It is the intent of the Legislature to provide opportunities for female athletes to demonstrate their skill, strength, and athletic abilities while also providing them with opportunities to obtain recognition and accolades, college scholarships, and the numerous other long39 term benefits that result from success in athletic endeavors and to promote sex equality by requiring the designation of separate sex-specific athletic teams or sports. "We will stand up to groups like the NCAA who think that they should be able to dictate the policies in different states".
"These sports bans are as unfair and unnecessary as they are risky. This group of young people desperately needs more support, not to be further marginalized and attacked by those in positions of power", said Sam Brinton, vice president of advocacy and government affairs for the organization.
"We won't be cowed", DeSantis promised. "We will stand strong", DeSantis said.
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The measure approved by the GOP-led Legislature takes effect July 1.
Meanwhile, the state will have to defend this law in court, with the Human Rights Campaign being the first to announce a suit will be filed.
Lawmakers behind the legislation also said the bill has been miscast as discriminatory rather than a bill protecting female athletes.
The legislation passed over the objection of Democrats and civil rights advocates who call the banning of transgender girls and women from sports unnecessary and discriminatory and accuse Republicans of portraying them as a provocation to energize the right wing of their party.
DeSantis talked about other states where, for example, in track, girls train for years only to not be able to advance as a result of biological males competing in women's sports. "All Floridians will have to face the consequences of this anti-transgender legislation - including economic harm, expensive taxpayer-funded legal battles, and a tarnished reputation".
"In Florida, we are ensuring that there are legal consequences to pay for being on the wrong side of history".
Content from The News Service of Florida was used in this report.