West Virginia governor says he will let transgender sports bill become law

Northeast

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice during his briefing on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Courtesy: Gov. Jim Justice)

CHARLESTON, W.V. (NewsNation Now) — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday he would either sign or allow a bill that would ban transgender athletes in middle and high school from participating in school sports that match their gender identity.

House Bill 3293 says a birth certificate would be required upon admission to public school confirming the individual’s sex at birth. The law would not apply to “co-educational secondary school interscholastic athletic events.”

“Personally, I feel that absolutely, I just can’t get through my head that it is the right thing for us at a middle school level or a high school level in our state for me not to support the bill,’ said Justice.

He would become the fourth governor in the U.S. to enact such a law. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee was the latest governor to sign a similar bill into law, joining Mississippi and Arkansas.

The NCAA said Tuesday they will continue to closely monitor these situations, even determining where championships are held, to decide whether NCAA championships can be conducted in ways that are welcoming and respectful of all participants.

Justice said he would support the measures beyond middle school and high school.

“Even at our college-level I support the bill there as well. The only problem is the NCAA could penalize us in West Virginia,” said Justice.

The American Civil Liberties Union has condemned similar pieces of legislation and is encouraging people to sign a petition against House Bill 3293.

“HB 3293 is a mean-spirited bill that if enacted would violate federal law,” the organization said. “This cruel piece of legislation singles out an already vulnerable population, young trans people. Studies show this type of legislation is directly linked with increases in self-harm and even suicide among this community.”

NewsNation affiliate WTRF contributed to this report.

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