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Transgender student ban from female sports passes SC Senate

The so-called "save women's sports act" passed the state House in April and has now passed the Senate.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The bill that bans transgender students from women’s sports in South Carolina is very close to becoming law.

The state Senate passed the legislation Wednesday 30-10 after the House approved it in April.

Supporter of the bill Senator Richard Cash explained to his colleagues that the ban, "applies from elementary school up to high school and also at the collegiate level.”

In the written legislation, the bill argues that requiring public schools to designate sex-specific teams is important to keep opportunities for female athletes fair. “That will protect those who are born biologically as females from having to compete against those who are born biologically as males but identify as females,” said Cash.

However, opponents like Senator Margie Bright Matthews called it a waste of time for lawmakers to be focusing on. “This is just a knee jerk political response to homophobic sports activity,” said Matthews.

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Matthew’s also took issue with the name of the bill, saying if lawmakers cared about women’s sports, they’d fight for equal pay and better treatment of female athletes. “Where did the name of this bill derive? It says save women's sports act. Where has the Senate been for the last 50 years with saving women's sports,” Matthews asked.

RELATED: South Carolina House passes transgender sports bill in 82-28 vote

Lawmakers like Senator Brad Hutto also raised concerns that South Carolina will likely be sued if the save women’ sports act is signed into law and could lose the case. However, Senator Billy Garrett thinks differently: 

"I'm not sure that we're going to lose Senator," Garrett responded to Hutto's argument. "As long as there's a rational basis, and the discrimination against women has long been in place, and this bill protects women from discrimination," argued Garrett.

Now that the bill has passed both chambers, it needs to ratified and sent to the Governor for signature. Governor McMaster was asked by reporters if he'd sign it into law, but he did not outright answer the question.

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