Attorney General Rutledge supports legislation to limit sports to gender on original birth certificate

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge proposed legislation limiting girls’ sports to girls and women’s sports to women as evidenced by an original birth certificate. 

The draft legislation is titled “The GIRLS Act” (Gender Integrity Reinforcement Legislation for Sports Act) and seeks to protect access to athletic opportunities for girls and women in K-12 and post-secondary institutions, according to a press release from Rutledge’s office.

“As a mom of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, and having grown up playing a number of sports, I know first-hand the benefit that sports has on developing self-discipline, confidence, teamwork and leadership,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This proposed legislation would make sure that young women in Arkansas can compete on a level playing field, no matter what sport they choose.”

Rutledge said President Biden’s executive order aimed at combating discrimination based on general identity and sexual orientation hurts females.

PFLAG of NWA President Catie Hartling (she/her) disagrees.

It’s saying that transwomen and trans girls aren’t girls or women, and that’s untrue. All Arkansans who are women, including cisgender and transwomen and intersex folks who identify as women, they’re all women and they deserve to be protected.

CATIE HARTLING (SHE/HER), PFLAG OF NWA PRESIDENT,

The proposed bill allows anyone who, as a result of a violation of the legislation, is deprived of athletic opportunities or suffers any other harm to seek a court order stopping the violation along with damages and attorney’s fees in a lawsuit against any Arkansas school that violates the legislation.

If passed, it would apply to all grades and all schools in Arkansas.

The lead sponsors of the bill are Senator Missy Irvin of Mountain View and Representative DeAnn Vaught of Horatio.

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