Following in the lines of the federal Title IX law, passed in 1972, a trio of New Jersey lawmakers have crafted legislation to ensure a competitive balance and fairness in girls high school sports.

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South Jersey Senator Mike Testa (Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland Counties) and Assemblymen Erik Simonsen and Antwan McClellan are introducing companion bills in the Senate and Assembly with the same goal, they said on Tuesday.

The Fairness in Women's Sports Act, sponsored by Senator Testa, would require participation in school-sanctioned sports be based on biological sex at birth.

Part of the reason for this legislation, Testa explains, comes after a 2019 100-meter dash race in the Connecticut high school track and field state championship where two transgender runners finished first and second in the race, creating what he said was an imbalanced competition.

Testa said his bill is designed to preserve the integrity of women’s high school and collegiate sports, to guarantee female athletes don't miss out on critical scholastic athletic opportunities and scholarships to universities and colleges.

“I think we all realize there is nothing fair about any of this,” Testa (R-1) said in a statement. “Unfortunately, life and sports are constrained by rules. For the sake of athletes born female who have practiced and worked hard and invested sweat in the sports they love, this bill will secure a fair and level playing field.”

His legislation would also prohibit athletic teams or sports designated for females, women, or girls from being open to male students and "defines the standards for settling eligibility disputes."

“We cannot put our heads in the sand and ignore the science of DNA,” Testa said. “For many young athletes, high school sports offer their best opportunity to go to college, get a degree, and begin a career. For many girls who don’t have the luxury of dreaming to play in the NFL or Major League Baseball, college scholarships are the goals they strive to reach. This legislation would prevent them from having these opportunities stripped from them.”

“We cannot ignore the physiological makeup of the human body,” Assemblyman Simonsen said in a statement. “Female and male bodies are structurally different. Those before us fought long, difficult battles in order to get Title IX recognized and signed as a Civil Rights Law.”

“Athletes, coaches and supporters fought long and hard to earn respect for women’s sports, money to fund scholastic and collegiate teams, and professional opportunities in the WNBA and pro soccer,” Assemblyman McClellan said in a statement. “We need to defend women’s rights and take steps to preserve decades of work on behalf of female competitors.”

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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