ADF: 'Noem Caved to Pressure From Corporate Special Interests' Over Transgender Bill

By Michael W. Chapman | March 25, 2021 | 12:27pm EDT
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R)  (Getty Images)
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- S.D. Gov. Kristi Noem's (R) office now claims that conservative criticism of her veto of a bill to protect girls' sports from transgender "females" (biological males) is "uninformed cancel culture" from the right. In response, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) said that exposing bad decisions and "criticizing Gov. Noem for caving to woke corporations is not cancel culture. It’s accountability."

Although Gov. Noem had tweeted on March 8 that she was "excited" to sign the Fairness in Women's Sports Act into law "very soon," she delayed, and then vetoed the bill, sending it back to the legislature to make "style and form" changes.

Transgender "female" (biological male) athletes.  (Screenshot, ADF)
Transgender "female" (biological male) athletes. (Screenshot, ADF)

Her decision angered not a few conservatives, who said she had betrayed basic science and young women. 

On March 23, Noem's office sent a statement that said, "Apparently, uninformed cancel culture is fine when the right is eating their own. A less impassioned review of the facts tells a much different story. Governor Noem has long stood for fairness in women’s sports."

In response, ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner said, “Alliance Defending Freedom defends victims of cancel culture every day. Exposing invented explanations for bad decisions and criticizing Gov. Noem for caving to woke corporations is not cancel culture. It’s accountability."

ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner. (ADF)
ADF General Counsel Kristen Waggoner. (ADF)

"And it’s a grave injustice to compare public criticism of her decision to gut the Fairness in Women’s Sports legislation to those who have truly been victimized by cancel culture," said Waggoner.

"The truth is there is no NCAA policy that requires males to compete against girls," she said.  "The governor could have demonstrated courage in the face of special interests but instead is using sleight of hand and smoke and mirrors to cover her tracks."

"That’s not what a real leader does," said Waggoner. "Real leadership does the right thing even when it’s hard. That’s what other governors have done. And that’s what 14 attorneys general did when they signed in support of similar legislation in Idaho."

Real girls playing field hockey.  (Getty Images)
Real girls playing field hockey. (Getty Images)

"Gov. Noem caved to pressure from corporate special interests when others haven’t, and it has harmed the broader effort to protect fairness in women’s sports," said Waggoner. "We hope Gov. Noem will join these states by signing H.B. 1217 rather than continuing her current course.”

Noem reportedly was pressured by the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, the South Dakota Board of Regents, and the multi-national corporation Amazon to veto the legislation. 

Commenting on Noem's political maneuvering, Jordan Davidson at The Federalist wrote, "Noem is not at risk of getting 'canceled,' she’s merely experiencing the consequences of having an ideologically-driven voter base that knows caving in the face of corporate pressure makes you a worthless standard-bearer. And when your voter base criticizes your actions, that’s not 'cancel culture,' that’s democracy."

Transgender athletes. (Screenshot)
Transgender athletes. (Screenshot)

"The worst part, however, is that Noem is refusing to own up to her mistake," wrote Davidson. "She’s hiding behind fake campaigns to promote fairness in women’s sports when she could simply sign the bill that would accomplish just that."

According to its website, the Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.”

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