The Arizona House of Representatives narrowly passed a bill that, if enacted, would bar trans-identified athletes from competing in girls' sports.
On Tuesday, the House approved House Bill 2706, also known as the “Save Women’s Sports Act,” in a vote of 31 to 29.
Sponsored by 23 Republican legislators, the bill would require any interscholastic and intramural sports overseen by schools to designate boys' and girls' sports on the basis of biological sex.
“Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls may not be open to students of the male sex,” reads HB 2706 in part.
“If disputed, a student may establish the student’s sex by presenting a signed physician’s statement that indicates the student’s sex based on an analysis of the student’s genetic makeup.”
Republican state Rep. Nancy Barto, who introduced the bill, said HB 2706 advanced fairness, given documented biological differences between the sexes.
"That is why we have separated male and female sports. And that is why women have been so successful in achieving greatness on the field, and all the benefits that go with it," Barto added, according to ABC News.
"What has changed is Interscholastic policies allowing biological males identifying as females to compete on women's teams."
Democratic state Rep. Daniel Hernandez Jr. denounced the legislation on Twitter after the bill passed, calling it harmful to the state.
“Today is sad day for Arizona. After almost 6 hours of debate an anti-trans bill was passed in the house. 2706 is not pro woman and it is bad for AZ and bad for business. Poorly written and rammed through despite 100s of businesses opposed,” tweeted Hernandez.
“Yet despite all that debate about protecting women not one minute was spent talking about protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination in housing, employment, and public [accommodations.]”
Last month, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of three female high school athletes against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference over their decision to allow boys who identify as female to compete in girls' sports.
Filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, the suit argued that the CIAC rule “directly and negatively impacted” the “opportunities for participation, recruitment, and scholarships” for biologically female athletes.
“This discriminatory policy is now regularly resulting in boys displacing girls in competitive track events in Connecticut—excluding specific and identifiable girls including Plaintiffs from honors, opportunities to compete at higher levels, and public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities that should go to those outstanding female athletes,” stated the suit.