MONTGOMERY — The Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation on Thursday codifying definitions of male and female into Alabama law, which included an attempted amendment to address recent controversy surrounding Huntsville's U.S. Space and Rocket Center's Space Camp.

House Bill 111 (HB11), sponsored by State Rep. Susan DuBose (R-Hoover), would codify concise biological definitions within state law, allowing for distinct male and female spaces without being subject to state restrictions.

The bill would codify the definitions of man, woman, boy, girl, father, mother, male, female, and sex in Alabama law and allow local public entities to establish separate single-sex spaces or environments in certain circumstances. It would also allow for alternative gender identities while still allowing certain female-only spaces.

State Rep. Neil Rafferty (D-Birmingham) offered an amendment that would strengthen protections for gender and sex-based discrimination based on the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The amendment passed without a single "no" vote.

"I would like to thank the gentlelady for all the tremendous amount of hard work that we put into getting this amendment together and agreed upon," Rafferty said.  

Another amendment offered by House Majority Leader Scott Stadthagen (R-Hartselle) addressed the state's space camp debacle, which grabbed national headlines in March.

SEE: Huntsville father's Facebook post on biological male 'Butch coded space queer' Space Camp worker goes viral

SEE ALSO: Transgender Space Camp worker transferred for 'policy violations' that were 'addressed as an internal personnel matter'

Stadthagen's amendment requires that any state-operated or funded agency that operates or sponsors minors with multiple occupancy bathrooms, changing rooms, or sleeping areas may not permit members of the opposite sex to share those spaces, with exceptions for family members.

"So, the 'why' behind this amendment, and I'm not going to name certain entities, but camps throughout our state," Stadthagen said. "When you have, and I will tell you firsthand personally that my daughter has been in this situation where she was in a bathroom, which she thought was all girls, and it was actually a boy that was dressed as a girl in her bathroom. She called me crying. I picked her up at 10:30 at night from the camp. So, when I talked to the camp, they follow federal guidelines, and they said, 'We need state guidelines to prevent this situation from happening again."

After brief contestation from House Democrats, who mainly claimed that Stadthagen's and Rafferty's amendments were contradictory, Stadthagen announced that he was informed that the amendment might compromise some state universities.

Stadthagen asked to withdraw his amendment, saying he would likely introduce it in the Senate.

Newly-elected State Rep Marilyn Lands (D-Huntsville) spoke before the body for the first time, reading a prepared statement. Lands objected to the bill, saying she didn't believe it "does anything to protect women's rights."

"I believe it's attempting to do is silence Transgender and non-binary Alabamians," Lands said. "I've heard from many constituents who oppose this bill and won't be silenced. As a licensed professional counselor, I know the toll this will take on our LBGTQ+ community, especially our youth."

"From our no-exceptions abortion ban to new restrictions on IVF rights, Montgomery politicians who call themselves pro-life continue to enact policies that endanger the lives of Alabama's most vulnerable," she continued.

The bill passed nearly along party lines with a vote of 77-24. State Reps. Juandalynn Givan (D-Birmingham) and Patrick Sellers (D-Birmingham) were the only Democrats to vote in favor. State Reps. Prince Chestnut (D-Selma) and Kenyatté Hassell (D-Montgomery) voted to abstain.

"In Alabama, we know what a woman is! It's an honor to pass HB 111 which codifies into Alabama law, sex-based definitions, such as 'male' and 'female' based on biology," DuBose said after the bill passed. "This law will provide clarity for our courts and is an important step in increasing transparency in our state while protecting women's rights, women's spaces and preventing sex discrimination."

The legislation will now go to the Senate for deliberation.

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.