Ohio Governor Mike DeWine opposes state law on transgender athletes

Ohio Statehouse Newsroom

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine has spoken out against a bill at the Ohio Statehouse that would prohibit transgender women from participating in women’s sports.

The ban was added Thursday to a bill addressing the rights of college athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness. The bill had unanimously passed the state Senate without the ban, but it was added during debate on the House floor.

The bill passed the House in a vote largely along party lines, with Democrats opposing after the ban was added. Senators responded by inserting the profiting-rights language into an unrelated bill that had already passed the House, leaving it up to the reconciliation process to sort out which bills — and in what form — will get sent to DeWine.

The governor issued a statement Friday saying that he believes that legislators do not need to address the matter of transgender athletes.

“This issue is best addressed outside of government, through individual sports leagues and athletic associations, including the Ohio High School Athletic Association, who can tailor policies to meet the needs of their member athletes and member institutions,” DeWine said.

The OHSAA sets rules and runs postseason tournaments for most high school sports in Ohio. It has a policy from last year regarding transgender athletes, allowing them to compete if they meet certain guidelines.

To compete, in general, transgender girls must have completed at least one year of hormone treatment, and transgender boys cannot have started taking testosterone — although exceptions can be made in both instances.

Adding the ban to the profiting-rights bill was the latest effort by Statehouse Republicans to pass legislation on the issue. In February, a similar bill was introduced, but it never passed out of committee.

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