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Top GOP staffer compares transgender children to terrorists

Girls playing soccer
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Mark Miller, chief of staff for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), compared transgender children to terrorists while speaking in favor of a bill to ban trans students from participating in school sports.

The South Dakota House State Affairs Committee was considering S.B. 46 yesterday and Miller spoke in favor of the bill, which would ban transgender girls and women from participating in school sports on a team that matches their gender.

Related: State Republican lawmakers rev up for another year of attacking transgender youth

While Miller couldn’t point to a case of a transgender girl trying out for a school sport in South Dakota – much less waves of transgender girls taking over school sports and forcing cisgender girls out, as the fear-mongering usually goes – he said that it’s happening “all over the country.”

“It’s sort of like terrorism,” he told the committee. “You want to keep it over there, not let it get to here.”

State Rep Jamie Smith (D) responded in a speech: “And today we were told that transgender people playing sports is like terrorism. Need I say more. I will not support this bill.”

The bill passed the committee with an 11-2 vote and will go to the full South Dakota House for a vote this afternoon.

S.B. 46 passed the state’s Senate State Affairs Committee in a vote of 8-1 earlier this month, with every single Republican member of the committee voting to advance it to the Senate floor.

Last year, the South Dakota legislature passed a bill to ban transgender girls and women from participating in school sports in defiance of Title IX, the federal law that protects gender equality in education. But Gov. Noem vetoed the bill because she feared backlash from the NCAA and thought that the wording of the bill left it vulnerable to being overturned in court.

Despite deciding to veto it, she then implemented executive orders to prevent trans women at public high schools and universities from participating in women’s sports.

This year, she released a national ad touting her support for the legislation, indicating that she intends to use her anti-transgender reputation in her upcoming reelection campaign this year and possible future presidential run.

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