Arizona Senate Majority Whip Sine Kerr (R-LD25) is sponsoring a landmark bill codifying “biological sex” as one’s biological birth gender. The bill would also protect “single-sex spaces” to ensure the privacy and safety of women and girls. Senate Bill SB1628, dubbed the “Arizona Women’s Bill of Rights,” would place Arizona at the forefront of the movement to protect biological women.
At a presser yesterday, Senator Kerr explained the bill’s intent and scope. She was joined by Senate President Warren Petersen and Paula Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer forced to share a locker room with trans-male swimmer Lia Thompson, among others.
Kerr stated that SB1628 “affirms the simple truth that there are two sexes. male and female” and “helps protect women and girls from unwanted intrusions by males into intimate spaces.”
She continued, “Women’s and girls’ hard-won equality is threatened when males identifying as female are permitted to take women’s places. Males should not be eligible for sports, scholarships, or any other benefits that have been, for legitimate and important purposes, set aside specifically for women and girls.”
Opponents of the bill have labeled it the “LGBTQ+ Erasure Act,” claiming that it will harm so-called “marginalized” people by denying them access to public spaces and activities that align with their self-image.
In a written statement, Bridget Sharpe, Arizona director of the Human Rights Campaign, stated that “SB 1628 would put federal funds for schools, domestic violence centers, and rape crisis centers at risk, and it would harm Arizonans simply trying to live their lives.”
She added that the bill is part of a “well-funded, systematic effort to dismantle personal freedoms, roll back progress, and harass and intimidate communities into submission.”
Scanlon, once a top competitor in college women’s swimming, spoke in favor of the bill. She said, “This is not hypothetical, this is real. I know women who have lost roster spots and spots on the podium. I know of women with sexual trauma who are adversely impacted by having biological males in the locker room without their consent.”
Thompson, one of Scanlon’s teammates, beat out all the women on the team to win the women’s 500-yard freestyle at the 2022 NCAA National Championship. Previous legislation aimed at preventing biological males from participating in women’s sports was vetoed by Arizona Governor Hobbs. At that time, Hobbs stated, “As politicians across the country continue to pass harmful legislation directed at transgender youth, I have a clear message to the people of Arizona: I will veto every bill that aims to attack and harm children.”
Despite Hobb’s reputation as the vetoer-in-chief, Kerr is optimistic about the bill’s chances. She stated, “I’m hopeful that we’ll have bipartisan support because of what it does and how it protects women and girls,” Kerr said. “I think that that’s a bipartisan issue that we can all wrap around.” She continued, “This does not preclude anything with the trans community. What this law does is that it clarifies the definitions, this is a definitional bill, and it clarifies the definitions already currently in state law.”
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