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DeSantis tough on identity politics in Florida

Ron DeSantis, Casey DeSantis
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Governor Ron DeSantis says a Florida swimmer is the real winner of an NCAA event instead of the transgender champion. Emma Weyant finished second last week in the 500-yard freestyle final behind biological male Lia Thomas, who became the first transgender athlete to win an NCAA Division One championship. Republican DeSantis said he’ll issue a proclamation declaring Weyant the winner of the race.

DeSantis said the University of Virginia freshman earned the win and he accused the NCAA of trying to “destroy women’s athletics.”

Gov. DeSantis signed a bill last year barring transgender females from playing on public school teams intended for student athletes born as girls, plunging the state into the national culture war over transgender rights.

“In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports and boys are going to play boys sports,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said as he signed the bill into law at a private Christian academy in Jacksonville that would not be subject to the law. “We’re going to make sure that that’s the reality.”

Meanwhile, the governor of Utah has vetoed a Republican bill that would have barred transgender athletes from competing in girls’ sports.  Governor Spencer Cox went against his party to veto the legislation, which he said was “the right thing” to do.

Utah Republicans vow to override the veto in a vote Friday.

Cox is the second Republican governor this week to veto a transgender sports bill.

On Monday, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed a similar measure, and said there was no evidence that the state of Indiana needed to intervene on the issue.

The NCAA, which oversees college athletics, has said it has “a long-standing policy that provides a more inclusive path for transgender participation in college sports.” The NCAA currently requires transgender women to get treatment to lower their testosterone levels before they can compete in women’s sports.