Oklahoma Senate approves measures to affirm biological sex and its impact on women’s sports and ‘vital records’ measure

Oklahoma City – The Senate gave approval to a pair of measures Thursday (March 24) affirming biological sex at birth and placing importance on this designation for female student athletes across the state. Sen. Micheal Bergstrom, R-Adair, is the author of both measures.

Senate Bill 1100 would require the biological sex designation on Oklahoma birth certificates to be listed as either male or female, outlawing the use of “X” or any other symbol to represent a nonbinary designation.

“This measure is a direct response to our state’s health department adding nonbinary as an option on birth certificates,” Bergstrom said. “Like the vast majority of Oklahomans, I found this move to be a slap in the face of science. How has our society sunk so low that it is seriously an argument if someone is a boy or a girl? Biological sex is very clear, and our vital state records must reflect this.”

The short-form description of the legislation is: “Vital records; limiting sex or gender designation on certificate of birth to male or female; prohibiting nonbinary designation.”

S.B. 1100 passed 38-7, with three members of the Senate not voting.

Save Women’s Sports Act heads to Governor

The Senate also passed SB 2, also known as the Save Women’s Sports Act, which would prohibit anyone of the male sex from playing on athletic teams designated for females, women, or girls.

In his debate, Bergstrom shared that he is passionate about this issue because of his daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters who have and will compete in women’s sports.

“We must protect our female students across this state from losing out on educational opportunities and scholarships because they are competing against men identifying as women,” Bergstrom said. “How is it fair for our children – our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and cousins – to compete against someone who has a very distinct biological advantage over them? The bottom line is it isn’t, and we must address this issue now and protect our female students from men infiltrating women’s sports programs.”

The measure comes on the heels of transgender athlete Lia Thomas’ dominating performance in the NCAA women’s swimming championships earlier this month. Previously known as Will Thomas, the swimmer had the benefit of higher testosterone levels, enhanced lung capacity, and larger hands and feet, lending to increased strength and a distinct advantage against biological females in the competition.

“It’s sad we even have to pass legislation designating that there is a difference between males and females and that men have an advantage when competing against women,” said Sen. Julie Daniels, R-Bartlesville, co-author of the measure. “But I’m here to support our women and the future of women’s sports.”

S.B. 2 passed with bipartisan support on a 37-7 vote. Four senators did not vote.

Last year, in the state House, final approval came in April on a 68-18 vote, with a total of 15 members not voting. http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/cf/2021-22%20SUPPORT%20DOCUMENTS/votes/House/SB2_VOTES.HTM

Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, R-Elgin, was House sponsor, and emphasized the importance of the historic Title IX legislation in 1972, which “honored the biological difference between males and females.” Because of that law’s passage, she said many “amazing female athletes” who have become household names and role models for children. https://www.capitolbeatok.com/reports/save-womens-sports-act-advances-in-oklahoma/

In the upper chamber, co-sponsors in addition to Bergstrom and Daniels were: Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow; Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman; Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore; Sen. Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa; Sen. Roland Pederson, R-Burlington; Sen. Jake Merrick, R-Yukon; Sen. Blake Stephens, R-Tahlequah; Sen. Cody Rogers, R-Tulsa; Sen. Shane Jett, R-Shawnee; Sen. Warren Hamilton, R-McCurtain; Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard; Sen. Zack Taylor, R-Seminole; Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt; Sen. David Bullard, R-Durant; and Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore.

S.B. 2 now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

NOTE: Patrick B. McGuigan, founder and publisher of CapitolBeatOK.com, adapted and contributed to this report.