Arkansas’s attorney general is considering a law that could make participating in school sports difficult for children who were adopted in an attempt to prevent transgender girls and women from competing in school sports.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge proposed the Gender Integrity Reinforcement Legislation for Sports Act (GIRLS Act), an anti-transgender sports bill that is being sponsored by Republican lawmakers in the state legislature that would require girls who want to compete in school sports to present an original birth certificate.
The problem? It’s pretty difficult to obtain an original birth certificate if it has been modified by a court.
For children who were adopted, getting access to their original birth certificate in the state of Arkansas means getting a court order, according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
“As a mom of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, and having grown up playing a number of sports, I know first-hand the benefit that sports has on developing self-discipline, confidence, teamwork, and leadership,” Rutledge said in a press release.
And Rutledge wants to prevent transgender girls from getting those benefits from sports.
As Republican lawmakers all over the U.S. introduce bills this year to ban transgender girls and women from competing in school sports in what could be a coordinated attack on trans rights, many have faced criticism about how their bills would determine a student athlete’s gender.
Idaho’s law that passed last year called for DNA testing and genital exams if a girl’s gender is challenged by a competitor. Georgia’s bill called for “a panel of three physicians” to assess information about a girl’s body – including about her genitalia – to determine her gender.
To avoid using a similar system that would involve examining girls’ bodies, the Arkansas bill calls for an original birth certificate to be presented to determine someone’s sex assigned at birth in her bill.
Under state law, any birth certificate that has been changed – except for minor changes made in a baby’s first year of life – is an amended birth certificate and is labeled as such. The GIRLS Act specifically calls for an original birth certificate so that one that was updated to correct a gender marker cannot be used.
But that’s not the only reason someone would amend a birth certificate – sometimes they’re amended in the case of adoption, if a child’s name is changed, or if there is a dispute about paternity. In the case of adoption, accessing an original birth certificate requires a court order.
In January, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to fight discrimination against LGBTQ people that said that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is banned by federal laws that ban discrimination on the basis of sex.
The executive order specifically mentions school sports, since federal law bans discrimination in education.
When challenged on the executive order by a Fox Radio reporter who said that banning discrimination against LGBTQ people hurts girls and women, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “I would just say that the president’s belief is that trans rights are human rights, and that’s why he signed that executive order.”
A request for comment was sent to Leslie Rutledge’s office and this article will be updated if LGBTQ Nation gets a response.