North Carolina Democratic Governor Roy Cooper did something odd recently: He vetoed a bill that had bipartisan support that was meant to protect women’s sports.
The bill, called the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, passed through the state Legislature thanks to bipartisan supermajorities. It would have prohibited any man from playing on a woman’s sports team at the middle school, high school or collegiate level.
In a statement he gave when he vetoed the bill, Cooper explained:
“We don’t need politicians inflaming their political culture wars by making broad, uninformed decisions about an extremely small number of vulnerable children that are already handled by a robust system that relies on parents, schools and sports organizations. Republican governors in other states have vetoed similar bills because they hurt their states’ reputation and economy and because they are neither fair nor needed.”
Two Democrats in the state Legislature supported the bill – state Senator Val Applewhite and state Representative Michael Wray.
There’s a chance Cooper’s veto could get overridden, and the Legislature is sure to at least try. If it does go into effect, the law would apply not only to every public school in the state but also any private school that competes against a public school.
Applewhite explained that her support for the bill was “a tough decision to make.” She based it on conversations she had with constituents and coaches who she represents.
One umpire she spoke with said that girls and boys start to experience a change in strength levels as early as when they turn 7 years old.
She spoke with local media outlet The News & Observer and said:
“I even reached out to some members of the LGBTQ community who said they understood it as well. I think it’s a misnomer to think that everyone in that community feels the same way. They’re not one groupthink.”
The Fayetteville Observer also reported that following her vote, Applewhite got “bad threats” from some people.
This veto by Cooper is seemingly in line with other recent vetoes he’s issued. One was the Parents’ Bill of Rights, and another was HB 808, a bill that would’ve banned all treatments for sex changes for minors.
Those two bills, though, didn’t receive support from any Democrats in the Legislature.
The General Assembly will likely override the women’s sports bill as well as the one dealing with sex changes for minors. It’s not terribly difficult for them to do so, since the Republican Party has a supermajority in both chambers of the Assembly.
That happened after Representative Tricia Cotham switched from being a Democrat to being a Republican back in April. She voted in favor of all three of those bills.
The Parents’ Bill of Rights law isn’t as certain to be overridden. That’s because Republican Representative Hugh Blackwell voted against it. That leaves the House GOP a single vote shy of a successful override.