The South Dakota Catholic Conference supports the passage of SB 46, 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. SB 46 ensures state law respects the natural law, as given by God and inherent in his creation. Men and women are created by God with equal dignity, yet are also different in obvious and important ways. Men and women have fixed biological differences that are relevant to athletic competition. Historically, civil laws such as Title IX have respected this truth in ways especially important to the dignity of women, who have not always been afforded a fair playing field. Such biological differences are in fact a great gift from God, ordered towards complementary harmony and the fruitfulness of family life. However, in recent years, in the name “justice,” the complementarity of men and women has been called into question as a God-given reality. True justice is inseparable from fundamental truths. Thus, to preserve a level playing field for all-girl sports teams upholds 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 love for anyone who might be experiencing difficulty in accepting their sexual identity as a male or female. This internal struggle can be a great burden, and thus provoke feelings of being treated unjustly. The bishops’ desire is that God’s love might be known by all! With this pastoral attention, the bishops also recognize the unyielding importance of clarity in fundamental truths to all youth in their formative years, including those who participate in sports and other activities. Grounded in such unchanging realities, SB 46 ensures fairness in girls’ sports.