Republican governor and Trump’s potential 2024 running mate Ron DeSantis has promised to sign a bill banning transgender women from participating in women’s and girls’ sports in Florida.
Lawmakers in Florida passed SB 1028 on Wednesday (28 April) by a 79-37 vote in the House, and a 23-16 vote in the Senate – mostly along party lines in both bodies. The ban was a last-minute amendment to a bill on charter schools, which was previously rejected by lawmakers after the NCAA warned it would move championships out of states where trans athletes were not treated with “dignity and respect”.
The original ban had included a clause that would have allowed schools to inspect the genitals of any female student suspected of being transgender and included sports in public elementary schools. The modified bill restricts participation in women’s and girls’ sports teams to those with female birth certificates and applies to public high school and college sports.
The bill now sits on DeSantis’ desk to be signed into law, and he has said that he plans to sign the bill to “protect our girls”.
Ron DeSantis said Thursday (30 April) during a town hall of Republican governors hosted by Fox News‘ Laura Ingraham that his two daughters – and other cisgender girls – “deserve an even playing field”, and that’s why he’s supporting the ban.
“We’re going to protect our girls,” DeSantis said. “I have a four-year-old daughter and a one-year-old daughter. They’re both very athletic. We want to have opportunities for our girls.
“They deserve an even playing field, and that’s what we’re doing.”
But civil rights organisation Equality Florida said SB 1028 would “amount to the first anti-LGBTQ bill to pass the Florida legislature in 23 years”. Equality Florida argued that passing the bill could “cost the state major sporting events and other tourism revenue”.
Former president Donald Trump said that he was “100 per cent thinking about running again” and pegged DeSantis as his running mate. Trump said in an interview with Fox Business new channel that he believed a 2024 election run would be “very successful”. He said he would “certainly consider” his “friend” DeSantis as his potential vice president.
Trump said Ron DeSantis “took off like a rocket ship” after he endorsed the Florida Republican, adding DeSantis has “done a great job as governor”.
“A lot of people like that – you know, I’m just saying what I read and what you read – they love that ticket,” Trump said. “But certainly, Ron would be considered. He’s a great guy.”