Over the next month, one bill will impact profoundly the careers of a couple of high-profile Louisiana politicians.
That potentially redefining instrument comes in the modest form of Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell’s SB 156. The bill would clarify in scholastic, collegiate, and intramural athletics, that for single-sex sports only students of that biological sex may participate in those, except that females could opt for participation in sports designated for males.
In over half the states such a bill has been introduced, becoming law already in several. Even the least favorable national polling shows more people support measures like this than oppose, with strong support leading strong opposition by double digits. No comparable Louisiana statewide polling on this has occurred, but likely support would be much higher.
Opponents repeatedly have used weak argumentation if not outright fabrication in a futile effort to stop this legislative progress. Unlike in other states where biological males claiming transgender status competed in events for females, that hasn’t happened in Louisiana, which led opponents to say the bill wasn’t needed. This decidedly illogical argument assumes that because humans have yet to make a certain incentivized behavioral choice (an opportunity to succeed athletically with a built-in biological advantage solely because of their chromosomes) that they never will do so.
Detractors also, either through ignorance or deceit, misstate the science governing the biology of sexual difference. The executive director of a group favoring public policy privileging groups outside of traditional conceptions of sex, the Forum for Equality’s Sarah Jane Guidry, mistakenly told the House Education Committee that after 12 months of testosterone suppression male athletes fall under the usual variance in athletic ability from woman to woman; 12 months is the recommendation for elite athletes in international competition.
In reality, the latest research questions if even after 24 months whether that treatment brings down performance to a level that doesn’t leave biological males with a physical advantage. (That study actually only tested for a limited range of activities, leaving out others which could display even greater disparities for a longer period.) Although perhaps Guidry’s problem is reading comprehension, because the bill’s text refers to this research.
Of greater importance, note the insidious implication behind this kind of complaint, at least for scholastic participants. It assumes that no ban should be in place if the male has started chemically to assume a female identity. However, the science is very clear that the drugs to accomplish this ultimately are harmful to healthy children. Preventing this bill from becoming law serves keeping an incentive in place to encourage children to harm themselves.
To anyone who puts ideology aside in favor of placing first the welfare of children and young adults, the bill is a layup. Nonetheless, it provides a test of GOP House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, who on social issues to date has shown feet of clay.
The bill has a veto-proof Senate majority, and it should have the same as well in the House; only two Democrats need join all Republicans to attain that, and three joined Republicans in the Senate. A little light lobbying is all Schexnayder has to do to see it through this final step, and done in a fashion where any override attempt occurs during the session. Failure to do this only would increase party restlessness (exacerbated by his own-goal leadership decisions) that could prompt a leadership challenge.
The veto-proof margin being relevant because Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards essentially has said he would veto it – and puts him in the worst position possible. Edwards, with the inability to put any except the most trivial parts of his agenda into policy, having lost much control over the budgeting process, and constantly fighting off legislation he doesn’t like such as this, has rapidly lost interest in governing in Louisiana. His next goal is to escape the state into national politics.
By vetoing this bill, he can’t turn back; he’d never get elected to a statewide office again, and perhaps not even to those below that. It’s an audition for a Democrat Pres. Joe Biden Administration appointment, one he has no chance ever getting if he doesn’t strike down the item. But to veto it and then have that overridden makes him look weak and ineffective, discouraging the Biden regime from bringing him on board for any meaningful post.