The South Dakota Catholic Conference supports the passage of House Bill 1217, a bill that provides for fairness in sports, ensuring girls and women will not be required to compete against boys and men in athletic activities. By aligning state law with the natural law, House Bill 1217 upholds and respects the nature of God’s creation. Men and women are created by God with equal dignity, yet practical reason makes evident that men and women also have fixed biological differences, not conditioned on subjective inner experience, that are to be respected. Civil laws must reflect this truth. In recent years, in the name of a more “just society,” the complementarity of men and women has been called into question as a God-given reality. However, justice is inseparable from fundamental truths, and to permit males to compete on all-girl sports teams disregards basic truths about male and female bodies upon which fairness depends. At the same time, the bishops of South Dakota wish to express the Church’s desire to be pastorally present to anyone who might be experiencing difficulty in accepting their identity as a male or female. With this pastoral attentiveness, they also recognize the importance of clarity in fundamental truths to all other youth in their formative years, including those who participate in sports and other activities. Grounded in such unchanging realities, House Bill 1217 ensures fairness in girls’ sports.

Categories: 2021 Session