North Carolina overrides veto to ban trans athletes from competing in women's sports, putting law into effect

The Fairness in Women's Sports Act will be put into effect immediately

The North Carolina General Assembly completed an override to Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, which bans transgender girls and women in middle school, high school and college from joining women’s sports.

HB 574, which is the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, was among multiple overrides the House and the Senate made on Wednesday night. It was passed by the House by a vote of 74-45, while the Senate voted to override Cooper’s decision later Wednesday night. 

HB 808, which does not allow medical professionals to provide hormone therapy, puberty-blocking drugs or gender-transition procedures to anyone under 18, was also overridden. 

Roy Cooper makes speech

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper speaks as electric carmaker Vinfast breaks ground in its $4 billion North Carolina manufacturing plant located within the Triangle Innovation Point on July 28, 2023. (Nick Ut/Getty Images)

Finally, the House and the Senate decided to override SB 49, also known as the "Parents Bill of Rights," which requires teachers to inform parents when students question their gender or chooses to use a different pronoun in class.

These bills were passed into law and will take effect immediately. 


"The legislature finally comes back to pass legislation that discriminates, makes housing less safe, blocks FEMA disaster recovery funding, hurts the freedom to vote and damages our economy," Cooper, who vetoed the bills in late June, said in a statement posted to X. "Yet they still won’t pass a budget when teachers, school bus drivers and Medicaid Expansion for thousands of working people getting kicked off their health plans every week are desperately needed. These are the wrong priorities, especially when they should be working nights and weekends if necessary to get a budget passed by the end of the month."

Women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines was pleased to see the override happen for HB 574, posting a clip of Republican Speaker of the North Carolina House Tim Moore relaying the vote that carried the motion through. 

"Fantastic news!" Gaines posted on X.


North Carolina became the 22nd state to ban trans minors from medical care that includes hormone therapy, puberty-blocking drugs and surgical procedures for gender transitioning.

The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, does not allow "students of the male sex" from playing for "athletic teams designated for females, women or girls." The bill, at first, only applied to public and some private middle and high schools, but it changed to involve any "intercollegiate athletic program."

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) will have to comply with the law now after they instituted a policy that allows transgender athletes to play sports based on the gender they identify as. 

Demonstrators cher during "Our Bodies, Our Sports" speech

Demonstrators cheer during the speaking program at the "Our Bodies, Our Sports" rally for the 50th anniversary of Title IX at Freedom Plaza on June 23, 2022 in Washington, D.C. The rally, organized by multiple athletic women's groups was held to call on President Biden to put restrictions on transgender females and "advocate to keep women's sports female." (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Athletes were allowed to fill out a form, among other documents, that a committee would review and ultimately approve or deny based off the student "genuinely" identifying as the gender indicated on the form. 

Eighteen requests were received by the NCHSAA since the policy was put in place in the 2019-20 school year, spokesperson Brandon Moree told The News & Observer. Moree said that, of the forms, 16 were approved with 14 being transgender boys requesting to play on male sports teams. 

Moree added that the NCHSAA will be complying with the new law, removing their policy. 

While the laws were passed, there were some who did not agree. 

Save Women's Sports

House GOP Members And Female Athletes Mark Passage Of The Protection Of Women And Girls In Sports Act. (Chip Somodevilla)

"When we were all sworn into this office, we all swore an oath to uphold the constitution of the state and the U.S. When we have a group of citizens who are 8 times more likely to die by suicide, and we are banning their healthcare, that’s violating that oath," Rep. Sarah Crawford, D-NC, said per The Independent.

However, Republican state Sen. Vickie Sawyer said North Carolina "must move to protect women and women’s sports," using examples of women defeated by transwomen in athletic events to support her argument, The News & Observer reports.

In April, the House of Representatives passed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, though not a single Democrat voted in favor of the bill. 

"Today is a great day for America, for fairness, for families, and most importantly, for female athletes," McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters as he celebrated the passage. "House Republicans pledged before the last election their commitment to America to protect women and girls in sports. Today, we kept that promise."

North Carolina state legislature building

The North Carolina state legislature building is seen in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

However, President Biden vowed to veto the bill.

"Schools, coaches, and athletic associations around the country are already working with families to develop participation rules that are fair and that take into account particular sports, grade levels, and levels of competition. As a national ban that does not account for competitiveness or grade level, H.R. 734 targets people for who they are and therefore is discriminatory," the White House said of the bill.

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