By Peyton Majors
Christian Action League
June 23, 2023
North Carolina took a major step forward in protecting women’s sports Thursday when the state House of Representatives sent a bill to Gov. Roy Cooper that would prohibit biological males from participating in female sports.
The bill, HB 574, passed the House 62-43, two days after it sailed through the Senate, 31-17. Both margins are enough to overcome a possible Cooper veto. The bill applies to sports teams in middle and high schools but also colleges and universities.
“Athletic teams designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex,” the bill states. “… A student’s sex shall be recognized based solely on the student’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.”
Nationwide, 22 states already have similar laws.
The bill’s title is the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”
“This is a very common sense bill, it is not against anybody,” said Sen. Kevin Corbin, a Republican and bill supporter. “It simply prevents biological males from playing girl’s sports.”
Supporters like Corbin say the bill is needed in order to protect safety and fairness. Last year, a biological female volleyball player at Hiwasee Dam High School sustained injuries from a high-speed volleyball spike by a transgender-identifying biological male. In Connecticut, two high school athletes who are biologically male but who identify as female won a total of 15 state track championships in the female division.
Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, was unable to testify on the measure during its committee hearings because he was absent after having suffered a mini-stroke and was hospitalized. Still, Rev. Creech sent an email letter to legislators urging them to support the measure.
“I respectfully submit that we cannot operate our many private or public institutions, not even a social institution such as sports, on what is subjective,” Creech said in the letter. “Although not always acknowledged, objective truth remains constant in every generation. It is not an attack on any group when we differentiate accordingly. Fairness requires that we do so. I am not of a minority race; neither am I poor, no matter how much I might believe or declare otherwise. Therefore, society in general, and the state specifically, does not concede to me certain privileges that should only be due to others. You act no less reasonably by supporting a bill of this nature. The Christian Action League urges you to support the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.”
In the end, the bill passed the House with the support of 61 Republicans and one Democrat (Michael H. Wray). All the “no” votes came from Democrats. The Senate vote saw a similar breakdown, with 30 Republicans joining one Democrat (Val Applewhite) in passing it. All the votes against the bill in the Senate were from Democrats.
Applewhite said an umpire told her he could see strength differences between boys and girls at ages seven and eight.
“It’s that early, the differences,” she told The Fayetteville Observer, explaining her vote. “It just continues as they get older. He believed that strength is an unfair advantage in any sport.”
The bill passed the House and Senate the same week that women’s sports advocate and former University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines gave testimony to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that went viral. Gaines also testified before lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly, April, supporting HB 574.
“Believing in biology is not bigoted,” she said.
In one key moment, Kelley Robinson, president of the LGBT advocacy group Human Rights Campaign, told senators that Serena Williams is “stronger” than men and could beat men.
To that, Gaines retorted, “Both Serena and Venus lost to the 203rd-ranked male tennis player.”
The event Gaines referenced took place in 1998 during an exhibition.
“My experience, my husband, he swam at the University of Kentucky as well,” Gaines said. “In terms of accolades, in terms of national ranking, I was a much better swimmer than him. He could kick my butt any day of the week — without trying.”