MONTGOMERY — Legislation banning college athletes from participating in sports that do not correspond to their biological sex passed the Alabama Senate on Wednesday.

Alabama law prohibits individuals from participating in sports teams that do not correspond to their biological sex in all public K-12 schools. However, university athletics are governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

House Bill 261 (HB261), sponsored by State Rep. Susan DuBose (R-Hoover), would require all public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education to prohibit biological males from participating in athletic teams or sports designated for females and vice versa.

The bill passed by a 26-4 margin. State Sens. Kirk Hatcher (D-Montgomery), Merika Coleman (D-Pleasant Grove), Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) and Vivian Davis Figures (D-Mobile) were the four votes against.

State Sen. April Weaver (R-Brierfield) said on the Senate floor, "[A]s a girl momma and a woman, I believe this is something we should support."

"Males they're bigger than women. They're stronger, they're faster," she added. "They have larger hearts. They have larger lungs, denser bones, (and) stronger muscles. I don't think that's something any hormone therapy can undo with those advantages." 

State Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) asked on the Senate floor about procedures in the bill to determine whether an athlete is male or female.

"It's no standard in there. Brittney Griner is a clear example," Smitherman said. "The lady who they had in Russia (and) kept over there. You hear her talk, she sounds like me talking. You see her walk, she looks like me walking. She plays ball like I used to. Like I used to. What is she listed as? I'm just guessing…in her relationship by the eye test I perceive her as to be the male. I think she's married to another person of the same sex, and I think in that relationship she is the male. She's not, she's a woman. She gave an interview the other day. Her voice is deeper than mine. Her shoulders have more definition than mine." 

Weaver said the bill doesn't specifically address any procedure to determine gender but is based on the athlete's biological sex.

"Specifically about this bill, I don't think there's been an issue in any of the 16 states where this has previously passed," Weaver said. "I'm confident there won't be any here in Alabama either."

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