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Of the hundreds of bills Gov. Greg Gianforte will consider signing into law over the coming days, there’s one he is urged to give special consideration. House Bill 112 would prohibit transgender girls and women from participating in female sports.

Gianforte should take his veto pen to this one.

Not only is this bill discriminatory and a wholly unwarranted intrusion into the private lives of individuals. It is also a solution in search of a problem. Amid an ongoing pandemic and its economic impacts, is the essentially nonexistent issue of transgender youth participating in female sports really a pressing issue?

Before signing it, Gianforte is also urged to consider the bill’s negative economic impacts on the state.

Many tourists and business looking for new locations will have second thoughts about coming to Montana if this bill becomes law. High-tech businesses have said it will hurt efforts to recruit qualified out-of-state employees.

Witness the impacts on North Carolina when the state passed its so-called bathroom bill, mandating individuals use the restroom designated for their gender assigned at birth. Boycotts in response to the law were so widespread lawmakers there were forced to repeal the measure.

In Montana’s case, the NCAA Board of Governors has issued a statement in support of transgender athletes’ rights and has indicated Montana may be excluded from hosting NCAA championship events, including football playoff games that generate significant economic activity. In the last complete college football season in 2019, Montana State University hosted two playoff games and the University of Montana hosted one. Those games attracted tens of thousands of fans. Hosting NCAA skiing events and other sports championships will likely also be denied Montana along with the economic activity that goes with them.

It’s no small irony that supporters of this measure in the GOP-dominated Legislature amended the bill at the last minute to say it will be nullified if a Biden administration executive order banning gender discrimination will mean the loss of federal education dollars. Montana gets about $350 million annually from the feds, mostly in the form of student loans and grants.

Apparently the principles of those dedicated to protecting the integrity female sports have a price. If the ban results in sufficient financial losses, just forget the whole thing.

This bill is discriminatory, intrusive, unwarranted and potentially very damaging to the state’s economy. Do the smart thing, Gov. Gianforte, and give it the ax.


Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Charles Rinker, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

To send feedback on editorials, either leave a comment on the page below or write to citydesk@dailychronicle.com.

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Editorial Board

  • Mark Dobie, publisher
  • Michael Wright, managing editor
  • Bill Wilke, opinion page editor
  • Richard Broome, community member
  • Renee Gavin, community member
  • Will Swearingen, community member
  • Angie Wasia, community member

To send feedback on editorials, write to citydesk@dailychronicle.com.