Op-Ed: Republicans Must Fight for Girls’ Sports
By: Congressman Jim Banks and Terry Schilling
There are many things in life so obvious that we can, and should, take them for granted. The sun rises in the east. Two plus two equals four. Only girls should play in girls’ sports. Not so long ago, virtually every Hoosier — and, indeed, every American — would have agreed with these statements.
Lately, however, an especially virulent type of insanity, labeled “wokeism” by some, has begun to infect our politics and culture. Obvious truths have suddenly been called into question, particularly around gender. Once upon a time, even young children could easily explain the differences between men and women. Nowadays, answering such a question apparently requires a biology degree.
Of course, most people still understand nothing has actually changed. Although left-wing radicals may be confused about the birds and the bees, the reality is the same as it always has been. Unfortunately, those radicals now control many of our most powerful institutions, as well as the Democratic Party. Today, gender confusion reigns nearly everywhere — including, most visibly, in girls’ sports, where biologically male athletes like Lia Thomas are increasingly dominating their competition.
Thankfully, Republicans nationwide have begun to fight back against this craziness. Despite the edicts of the Biden administration, 15 states to date have passed laws restricting participation in girls’ sports to females. Indiana was set to join that coalition when the state legislature passed its own law in March, but Governor Eric Holcomb chose to break with his party — and with common sense — by vetoing the bill.
It’s clear Holcomb’s veto wasn’t for political reasons. The bill is extremely popular. According to a recent poll commissioned by American Principles Project, 65 percent of Indiana voters supported the legislation, while just 27 percent opposed it. The same poll showed that a full majority of the state disagreed with Holcomb’s veto, most of them “strongly.” The legislation itself wasn’t extreme — similar laws have been enacted across the country. And the bill had little trouble passing out of the state House (66-30) and Senate (32-18).
So why did Holcomb veto it? He explained his reasoning in a letter to the legislature, offering a number of nonsensical rationales. He said that the statewide law might somehow cause “inconsistencies” across counties. He argued that since LGBTQ+ activists might sue, and an activist judge could potentially side with them, it wasn’t worth passing the law at all. And he claimed, absurdly, there wasn’t enough Indiana-specific evidence this was a problem — as if a study might show men have an unfair athletic advantage everywhere except Indiana.
Holcomb’s squeamishness typifies the Republican Party of old: good mostly for passing tax cuts and not being Democrats, but not much else. Unfortunately, that is wholly inadequate for this moment. We are up against an insane movement that denies biological reality and, even worse, wants to use government institutions to indoctrinate our children with a deluge of propaganda and nonsense. No “truce” is possible in this position, nor would it be desirable given the stakes.
So, we must find the fortitude to act, both to protect girls’ sports and to head off every other radical consequence of this woke lunacy. Holcomb may not want to do anything about the radical Left’s gender agenda, but Hoosiers do. The legislature has the power to make this right. They meet again on May 24th and only need a simple majority to override Holcomb’s veto and make Indiana the sixteenth state to limit girls’ sports to girls.
One need not have an advanced degree to recognize passing this legislation is the correct move, both scientifically and politically. It’s time for Indiana Republicans to take a stand on behalf of common sense.
Rep. Jim Banks represents Indiana’s 3rd District. Terry Schilling is the president of American Principles Project.