Republican lawmakers in Kansas have passed a bill in the senate to define a woman as a “biological female” for all legal purposes — with zero support from their Democrat colleagues.
The bill, SB 180, would establish a Women’s Bill of Rights,” and passed 26-10 along party lines on Thursday.
“Laws and rules and regulations that distinguish between the sexes are subject to intermediate constitutional scrutiny,” the bill explains. “Intermediate constitutional scrutiny forbids unfair discrimination against similarly situated male and female individuals but allows the law to distinguish between the sexes where such distinctions are substantially related to important governmental objectives. Notwithstanding any provision of state law to the contrary, distinctions between the sexes with respect to athletics, prisons or other detention facilities, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, locker rooms, restrooms and other areas where biology, safety or privacy are implicated that result in separate accommodations are substantially related to the important governmental objectives of protecting the health, safety and privacy of individuals in such circumstances.”
Though it easily passed the senate, it is unlikely to be signed by Democrat Governor Laura Kelly. She has previously vetoed a bill to ban biological males from participating in girls’ and women’s sports.
State Sen. Renee Erickson explained to the Washington Times that the bill is meant to define “woman” as clarification for single-sex facilities run by the state, such as prisons.
“What this does is simply codify in the law the definition of sex,” Erickson told the Washington Times. “It simply says that in existing statute or law, where there is a definition of sex, it means biological male and female as determined at birth. That’s very factual, it’s very objective.”
The Kansas Senate Democratic Party blasted the legislation on Twitter, calling it an effort to “ban trans people from public spaces.”
In case you were concerned that #ksleg politicians had come up with this themselves, have no fear: this is part of a national push to put biologically essentialist language in statute so that legislators have basis to ban trans people from public spaces. https://t.co/J9DyiJ6ChR
— Kansas Senate Democrats (@kssenatedems) February 22, 2023
The bill states that with respect to biological sex, the term “equal” does not mean “same” or “identical.”