(Reuters) – Florida on Tuesday became the latest and by far the largest state to ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports, part of a campaign in statehouses nationwide this year that equal rights activists assail as discriminatory.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who is closely aligned with former President Donald Trump, signed the bill into law after it had been rushed through the state legislature as an attachment to a charter school bill.
Supporters of the sports bills say they are needed to preserve fairness, asserting that cisgender women and girls would be at a disadvantage against transgender female athletes who were designated male at birth but have since transitioned.
The legislation passed over the objection of Democrats and civil rights advocates who call the banning of transgender girls and women from sports unnecessary and discriminatory and accuse Republicans of portraying them as a provocation to energize the right wing of their party.
The law is likely to face a court challenge.
Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee and West Virginia have passed similar legislation and South Dakota's governor has signed an executive order supporting a sports ban. All have Republican governors.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Editing by Howard Goller)
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