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Indiana Legislature could override governor's transgender sports bill veto in May

After Indiana Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill Monday that would have prevented biological men from competing in women's sports in schools, going against members of his own party in the Legislature, multiple lawmakers vowed to override the action.

"House Republicans will vote to override this veto when lawmakers meet again on May 24," said House Speaker Todd Huston in a statement, referencing the special session scheduled for May.

Holcomb justified the controversial veto by claiming the bill "implies that the goals of consistency and fairness in competitive female sports are not currently being met,” and after review, he found "no evidence to support either claim even if I support the overall goal.”

A representative for the governor referred the Washington Examiner back to the original veto letter when asked for comment on a possible override.

When asked, the Indiana Republican Party did not comment on whether or not it supports the effort in the Legislature to override the governor's veto.


Chairman Kyle Hupfer said Friday that "the bill in its final form fell short by not creating a unified statewide approach and by failing to meet constitutional muster."

He further defended the governor, adding that he "made his opinion on HEA 1041 clear prior to the end of the legislative session when he said, ‘Boys should be playing boys sports, and girls should be playing girls sports,’ but he also made clear that how the language was crafted was essential."

"Girls’ sports should be for girls, and allowing biological males to compete with them robs female athletes of a chance to compete and win," Indiana GOP Sen. Mike Braun said in a tweet.

"I’m disappointed Gov. Holcomb vetoed a bill to make this law in Indiana," he added, "and I support a veto override to protect women’s athletics."

"I'm ready to join my colleagues in overriding this veto," State Rep. Martin Carbaugh said in a statement Tuesday. He added that he was disappointed in the governor "as a father to three girls who are all competitive athletes."

Former school superintendent, principal, teacher, and high school coach State Rep. Tony Cook said in a statement, "By pairing biological males and biological females against one another, we are putting young women at an unfair disadvantage, and failing to acknowledge and celebrate their important contributions and achievements," adding that he looks forward to overriding the veto.


State Reps. J.D. Prescott, Chris Jeter, and Michelle Davis echoed support for the override in press releases.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski of Indiana released a statement Tuesday saying she was "disappointed" in Holcomb, adding, “I understand firsthand the importance of protecting athletic opportunities for girls and women."

The Utah Legislature overrode a similar veto Friday, spelling victory for Republicans in the state. Gov. Spencer Cox said he was "grateful" for the remedying of certain flaws in the bill and "I remain hopeful that we will continue to work toward a more inclusive, fair and compassionate policy during the interim.”

Utah House Democrats said "This bill is designed to score political points at the expense of kids who just want to play sports. It causes nothing but undue harm to transgender girls and boys across our state, when what they really deserve is support, reassurance, and love," in a statement following the session.