Doug Burgum Vetoes Legislation Regarding Transgender Sports Participation

In a somewhat surprising move, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed legislation on Wednesday that would have banned biological males from competing on girls’ sports teams. The Republican governor called the bill unnecessary.

Burgum’s Reasoning

Burgum said that his state has a tradition of being fair to all girls and boys when it comes to sports participation under the direction of the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA) Board and its members. The governor explained his decision to Republican House Speaker Kim Koppelman, saying that he was confident that the leaders would be able to guarantee a level playing field for all high school athletics without having to pass this type of unnecessary legislation.


He also pointed out that have been no records of transgender girls even attempting to participate on a team designated for girls in the state.

What Is Next

While Burgum made a statement by vetoing the legislation, there is already an effort underway to override his decision. Although the House passed the legislation with the sufficient votes needed to override Burgum’s veto, the bill did not reach the two-thirds mark in the Senate.

Following the Lead of Other States

Burgum is simply following the lead of other like-minded states in his decision. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem also vetoed similar legislation earlier in the year. In addition, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas made the same decision.

Both Noem and Hutchinson faced criticism from conservatives regarding the issue. Noem said that she would work with legislators later this summer to develop clearer guidelines.