Gov. Kristi Noem Does ‘South Dakota Shuffle’, Fails To Save Girls’ Sports

Something strange has happened in South Dakota.

As that state’s Women’s Fairness in Sports bill—a  bill to proect women and girls from the intrusion of biological males identifying as “transgender” into women’s and girls’ sports—moved toward passage, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) stated that she was excited about the bill and planned to sign it.

A few weeks later, Gov. Noem reversed course. After the Legislature passed the bill and it reached Gov. Noem’s desk, she vetoed it and asked the Legislature to send her a toothless, watered-down version of the bill instead. Gov. Noem expressed concern that the passage of the bill might lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to penalize or punish the State of South Dakota or its schools.

According to Kristin Waggoner of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), “‘Gov. Noem has offered a hollow substitute for the urgent protections for women’s sports that the South Dakota Legislature sent to the governor’s desk . . . By stalling her support, attempting to dodge the legal conflict, removing protections for collegiate athletes, and eliminating a female athlete’s legal remedy when her rights are violated, Gov. Noem . . . has downplayed the injustices that girls and women are already facing when they are forced to compete against males.”

Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said: “Many in the socially-conservative movement are looking at Governor Kristi Noem as a rising star and potential presidential contender. However, her ‘South Dakota Shuffle’ is causing pause among pro-family voters. We’re looking for candidates who will be able to withstand the pressures of political correctness. On this occasion, Gov. Noem folded.”

Why the flip-flop from Gov. Noem? We don’t know for certain, but Jon Stonestreet of Breakpoint.org surmised that well-funded institutions successfully pressured her. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms had the opportunity to sign on to a letter to Gov. Noem asking her to re-adopt her original position; more than 30 other state-level Christian organizations signed on as well.