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Red State Bill To Keep Males Out Of Women’s Bathrooms, Sports Teams Fails After Two Republicans Abstain

  A bill in   Nebraska   that would have kept males out of women’s restrooms and off of girls’ sports teams at schools failed after two Repu...

 A bill in Nebraska that would have kept males out of women’s restrooms and off of girls’ sports teams at schools failed after two Republicans abstained from voting on the measure after they initially indicated support for the legislation. 

The bill, known as the “Sports and Spaces Act,” failed on Friday after it did not get enough votes to advance it past cloture for a vote on the actual legislation. It needed to get 33 votes in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature, but was blocked from moving forward after a 31-15 vote. 

Two Republicans, state Sens. Tom Brandt and Merv Riepe, both abstained from the cloture vote even though they had initially signed on as sponsors to the legislation. The measure, introduced by state Sen. Kathleen Kauth, would have defined male as someone with XY chromosomes and male anatomy and a female as someone with XX chromosomes and female anatomy. 

“A school should designate each group bathroom and locker room within such school building as either for use by biological females or for use by biological males,” the bill said. “An athletic team or sport designated for females, women, or girls shall not be open to a biological male student.” 

Kauth said the legislation was necessary because of the “significant sports performance gap between the sexes” and that males being allowed to compete on women’s sports teams presented “a significant barrier for female athletes to compete in sports.”

Democrats claimed the legislation was bigoted and meant to bully students. “This is not about protecting women,” Sen. Megan Hunt said. “It’s about the danger and the power of the imagination of a bigot, Sen. Kauth, and those who would support a bill like this.”

The Nebraska Freedom Coalition ripped into Brandt and Riepe over their votes on the legislation.

“Two Republican state senators have failed to protect women in sports and spaces by stopping LB 575 from becoming law,” the group posted on Facebook. “Let’s hold them accountable for undermining the rights and opportunities and safety of women athletes.”


Riepe previously blocked Nebraska from advancing pro-life protections for unborn babies at six weeks after claiming that Republicans “must embrace the future of reproductive rights.”

Trump won Nebraska with nearly 59% of the vote in 2020 and there has not been a Democratic governor in the state since the 1990s. Governor Jim Pillen had supported LB 575, saying that it reflected “common sense Nebraska values.” 

“There’s nobody that wants their daughter to be in a locker room with a boy and there’s nobody that wants their son to be in a locker room with girls. It’s just not right, not the way we see it in Nebraska,” he said on Thursday.

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