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SC Dems Attempt 1,000+ Amendments to Stall Passage of Female Sports Protections

Between the amendments and a tornado warning that evacuated the chamber for nearly an hour, debate dragged on for nearly eight hours total...

(Headline USA) South Carolina’s Republican House majority outlasted more than 1,000 amendments by Democrats on Tuesday and passed a bill that would protect girls’ and women’s sports in public schools in colleges from biologically male competitors.

Between the amendments and a tornado warning that evacuated the chamber for nearly an hour, debate dragged on for nearly eight hours total. But the Republican House majority passed the bill about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Before Tuesday’s debate started, Democrats filed four boxes full of amendments—an estimated 1,000 in all—to change the bill.

Republicans immediately invoked a rule limiting debate to just three minutes per amendment. If Democratic members had been able to keep taking their full time and kept asking for two-minute long votes, the debate could have stretched into the weekend.

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Some amendments by Democrats would make substantial changes to the bill, like allowing a public high school to opt out of the requirements or requiring women’s sports to have the same number of assistant coaches or amenities as men’s teams.

Others would do things like rename the proposal the “Discrimination Capital of the United States Act” or name individual schools or allow school bands to play only at women’s sporting events.

The delaying tactic by Democrats was largely symbolic, but it still held off a vote for hours before the bill passed 82-28 on Tuesday evening.

The South Carolina showdown happened as the bill faced a deadline this week to pass at least one chamber or it would need a two-thirds vote to be considered. A similar bill has made it to the floor in the GOP-led state Senate but hasn’t yet been debated.

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If ultimately passed and signed into law, the bill would have South Carolina join a number of other conservative states in requiring transgender students to compete with the gender listed on their birth certificates.

About a dozen states have already passed similar legislation, and transgender athletes have become an issue in midterm campaigns in such states as Pennsylvania—where UPenn’s transgender swimmer Lia Thomas recently deprived female competitors of an NCAA championship title.

But Republicans aren’t in lockstep, with GOP governors in Indiana and Utah vetoing bans in their states.

Some contend that it is not an area in which any government legislation should define school policies, while others may fear incurring the wrath the NCAA and cancel-happy woke corporations that could inflict even more damage on student athletics programs.

But South Carolina—home to Clemson University, which defeated Alabama to win the NCAA football championship twice in the past five years—remained undeterred.

Republican Speaker Jay Lucas tossed out nearly 600 amendment proposals on Tuesday, saying they were almost the same with only small changes like altering names of schools in each proposal.

After those rulings, Democrats pulled down even more, with the writer of most of the changes claiming that bringing the House to a halt for several hour—at taxpayers’ expense—was a victory.

“Today we saw so many of my colleagues stand up for people who do not often have a voice,” said Rep. John King, a Democrat from Rock Hill.

Supporters of the bill mostly stayed quiet Tuesday, so as not to prolong the debate. One amendment did pass that would create girls’ wrestling teams in high schools.

Bill sponsor Rep. Ashley Trantham took the podium just before the vote, thanking the people who have fought for two years to get the bill passed in South Carolina. It failed in a House committee in 2021.

“It is because of your actions that South Carolina is one step closer to saving women’s sports,” the Republican from Pelzer said.

The South Carolina High School League said it takes up what teams a transgender athlete can play for on a case-by-case basis and has heard fewer than five requests. Elected Republican Education Superintendent Molly Spearman is also against the proposal.

Democrats said Republicans should be ashamed for singling out people that much of society already treats badly.

“Leave these transgender kids alone. There are less than 1% of them,” said Rep. Krystle Matthews a Democrat from Ladson.

However, it was by pressing the issue needlessly that LGBT activists have chosen to make themselves the subject of political backlash.

Even the country’s most prominent transgender athlete, Olympic gold-medalist Caitlyn (né Bruce) Jenner has weighed in opposing policies that force natural-born females to compete with transgender athletes

At least a dozen of the South Carolina House’s 43 Democrats took turns speaking on the amendments, forcing Lucas to cut them off abruptly when their time was up.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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