The Florida House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday that bars biologically male, transgender athletes from playing in women's sports. The bill passed with a 77-40 vote.
The legislation, known as the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, will now go to the state Senate where it will need final approval before it is sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The bill mandates that female sports teams in Florida are specifically for biological women and girls. It would apply to students in K-12 and higher education.
"There is an inherent, biological, undeniable difference between men and women, boys and girls," said Representative Traci Koster, a Republican. "Simply put: we were designed differently."
However, opponents have argued it will "legalize bullying" for transgender students and that the legislation targets LGBT rights.
"Sports have become another avenue to attack the rights of trans people," said state Representative Anna Eskamani, a Democrat. "And those efforts have caused incredible harm to trans youth, who, like all kids, especially in the middle of a pandemic, deserve compassion and support."
The bill was scheduled for the final hearing on Wednesday, butwas temporarily postponed by sponsor state Senator Kelli Stargel, a Republican, because of the packed Rules Committee agenda.