South Carolina has become the latest state to prohibit transgender women from competing in women's and girls' athletics with the signing of the Save Women's Sports Act.
Gov. Henry McMaster, a Republican, signed the bill Tuesday, which requires that student-athletes from middle school through college compete on athletic teams according to the legal sex assigned to them on their birth certificates.
"I think the girls ought to play girls and the boys ought to play boys,'' McMaster said before signing the bill, according to Blaze News. ''That's the way we've always done it."
The Palmetto State is the 16th state to enact such legislation.
The new law bans males who identify as female from competing against women and girls.
Following the bill's passage in the state Senate earlier this month, GOP state Sen. Richard Cash, who helped propel the bill through the legislature, said it was needed to protect opportunities for female athletes.
The legislation "will protect those who are born biologically as females from having to compete against those who are born biologically as males but identify as females,'' Cash said at the time.
Social conservative groups celebrated the state's support of biological female student-athletes.
''Male athletes do not belong in our daughters' sports, period,'' Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, told Blaze News. ''This is a view shared by an overwhelming majority of Americans, as our recent polling of battleground states has shown. Biology matters, and no amount of gaslighting by woke ideologues will change that."
''We applaud Governor McMaster and South Carolina lawmakers for taking action to protect a fair playing field for girl athletes in the Palmetto State,'' Schilling continued. ''This is now a litmus-test issue for the GOP, and voters will be paying attention to what their leaders either do or fail to do as we approach the midterms.''
Democrats opposed the law, saying it was unnecessary.
"Transgender youth are not a threat to fairness in sports, and this law now needlessly stigmatizes young people who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence, make friends, and build skills like teamwork and leadership, winning and losing," said Ivy Hill, executive director of Gender Benders and community health program director of Campaign for Southern Equality.
GOP-led states have pushed for legislation protecting women's sports, arguing that biological males have natural advantages over females and allowing athletes who were born male to compete against women is unfair.
The Associated Press reports that prior to the Save Women's Sports Act, the High School League of South Carolina made decisions on transgender athletes on a case-by-case basis. According to the AP, it has considered fewer than six cases per year.
McMaster, who is seeking reelection this year, faces Harrison Musselwhite in the state's June 14 GOP primary. The general election is on Nov. 8.
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