(CNS News) -- Since South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) vetoed a bill to protect girls' sports from transgender "females" (biological males), 47 pro-family, conservative organizations have called on the governor to join their coalition to protect female athletes by supporting legislation that explicitly prohibits males from playing on female sports teams, in all grades and at the university level.
"You recently announced your intent to form a 'coalition to defend Title IX' in conjunction with your surprising decision to use a 'style-and-form veto' on HB 1217, a bill that would ensure South Dakotan K12 and collegiate female athletes have a level playing field in their sports and that they have recourse against unfair policies that force them to compete against biological males," reads the letter to Gov. Noem, which was released today.
"We are already part of a large coalition defending female athletes across the country, and we are inviting you to join with us by supporting legislation that protects all women -- kindergarten to college -- and provides them with a legal remedy when their rights are violated, as HB 1217 does," states the letter.
HB 1217, the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, is the bill that Gov. Noem vetoed on Mar. 19, despite tweeting on Mar. 8 that she was "excited to sign this bill very soon." Noem reportedly vetoed the bill because of pressure from the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, South Dakota Board of Regents, and multi-national corporations such as Amazon.
HB 1217 would have required the public schools and colleges to designate sports teams as either male or female and based upon the player's biological sex. Every year, the players would have to provide documentation verifying their age, their biological sex, and affirm that they were not taking performance enhancing drugs.
The legislation also would allow a player, team, school, college, or athletic association to take legal action if they experienced discrimination for not allowing transgender "females" to play on their women's teams.
Currently, Idaho, Mississippi, and Arkansas have laws in place nearly identical to HB 1217.
"The South Dakota legislature got it right with HB 1217, and your original excitement to sign it was on the mark," reads the letter to Noem. "They passed a strong bill that stands with your state’s female athletes, no matter their level of competition, and provides them a legal remedy when their rights are violated. We stand behind these legislators and South Dakota’s female athletes."
"Gutting the bill doesn’t help anyone win—it sends South Dakota and their girls and women back to the sidelines and sends the wrong signal to others across the country in the fight to save girls’ and women’s sports," states the letter. "HB 1217 as passed protects all female athletes in South Dakota, not just those in high school or middle school."
"Your [vetoed and revised] version of the bill would hand South Dakota’s collegiate female athletes -- and a say in your state’s governance -- to the NCAA on a silver platter," said the pro-family groups. "Why should collegiate females face injustice for achieving the honor of college-level competition?"
"[O]our coalition stands unapologetically behind these girls and women and won’t back down to pressure from the NCAA," reads the letter. "The NCAA itself doesn’t require its member schools to allow biological males who identify as female on female teams. But even if it did have such a policy, we’d still rather stand proudly with female athletes than those who stand to profit off of them."
"So, we invite you, Governor Noem, to join our coalition on behalf of South Dakota’s—and the nation’s— female athletes who are counting on you to support legislation like HB 1217 as passed by the legislature," concludes the letter.
The letter-signers are listed below.
Norman Woods, Executive Directo,r Family Heritage Alliance (South Dakota)
Kristen Waggoner, General Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom
Terry Schilling, President, American Principles Project
Penny Young Nance, CEO and President Concerned Women for America
Anne Schlafly Cori, Chairman, Eagle Forum
Tony Perkins, President Family Research Council
Beth Stelzer, Founder Save Women’s Sports
Caleb Crosby, President & CEO Alabama Policy Institute
Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy
Debbie Chaves, Executive Director, Colorado Family Action
Nicole Theis, President Delaware Family Policy Council
John Stemberger, President & General Counsel, Florida Family Policy Council
Ryan McCann, Executive Director, Indiana Family Institute
Brittany Jones, Esq., Director of Advocacy Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
Gene Mills, President Louisiana Family Forum
Andrew Beckwith, President, Massachusetts Family Institute
Linda Schauer, State Director, Concerned Women for America of South Dakota
Michelle Cretella, M.D., Executive Director, American College of Pediatricians
Jeffrey Barrows, DO, MA (Ethics) Senior VP Bioethics and Public Policy Christian Medical & Dental Associations
Craig DeRoche, CEO and President Family Policy Alliance
Jessica Anderson, Executive Director, Heritage Action for America
Natasha Chart, Executive Director, Women’s Liberation Front
Jim Minnery, President Alaska Family Council
Jonathan Keller, President, California Family Council
Peter Wolfgang, Executive Director, Family Policy Institute of Connecticut
Eva Andrade, President Hawaii Family Forum
Blaine Conzatti, President Family Policy Alliance of Idaho
Bob Vander Plaats, President & CEO The FAMiLY LEADER (Iowa)
Kent Ostrander, Executive Director The Family Foundation (Kentucky)
Carroll Conley, Executive Director Christian Civic League of Maine
Jeff Hewson, Executive Director, Michigan Family Forum
John Helmberger, Chief Executive Officer Minnesota Family Council
Karen Bowling, Executive Director, Nebraska Family Alliance
John Paulton, Policy Director, Family Policy Alliance of New Mexico
John L. Rustin, President, North Carolina Family Policy Council
Michael Geer, President Pennsylvania Family Council
David Fowler, President Family Action Council of Tennessee
Victoria Cobb, President The Family Foundation (Virginia)
Julaine K. Appling, President Wisconsin Family Action
Jeff Laszloffy, President Montana Family Foundation
Shawn Hyland, President Family Policy Alliance of New Jersey
Jason McGuire, Executive Director, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms
Aaron Baer, President, Center for Christian Virtue (Ohio)
Dave Wilson, President, Palmetto Family (South Carolina)
Jonathan Saenz, President, Texas Values
Mark Miloscia, Executive Director, Family Policy Institute of Washington
Nathan Winters, President Family Policy Alliance of Wyoming