Nassau County officials pass bill banning transgender athletes in women's sports

The Nassau County Legislature has passed the bill that bans transgender athletes from competing in women’s sports at county facilities.

Passed along party lines 12-5 with the Republican majority supporting. Democratic legislators Bynoe and Derriggi Whitton were absent.

"I am gratified that the Republican Majority in the legislature voted in favor of this common sense measure to protect the integrity of women's sports and the safety of women participants," Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

Blakeman issued an executive order on Feb. 22 banning sports organizations from county-run athletic facilities if they allow transgender girls and women to compete on female teams.

The order specifically requires any sports teams, leagues, programs or organizations seeking a permit from the county's parks and recreation department to "expressly designate" whether they are male, female or coed based on their members’ "biological sex at birth."

The proposal has received heavy criticism, especially from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who has called the bill transphobic and illegal.

"The law is perfectly clear: You cannot discriminate against a person because of their gender identity or expression," the Democrat said in a statement. "This executive order is transphobic and blatantly illegal."

James also said the order will deter teams from other areas from competing in the county, and subjects women’s and girls’ sports teams to "intrusive and invasive questioning" and other unnecessary verification requirements.

However, Blakeman argues the bill gives transgender athletes other avenues to compete. Blakeman is confident this doesn't violate the Constitution. 

Associated Press wire services helped contributed to this report.