Governor Bill Lee signed a bill that amends the Tennessee code to apply biology-based definitions across all state statutes.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti, who has lead coalitions of states’ attorneys general urging the Biden administration to protect women and girls’ rights under Title IX, released a statement on the bill’s enactment, saying, “The Women’s Bill of Rights legislation codifies the long-established understanding that when the law refers to a person’s sex, it means their biological sex. Tennessee’s lawmakers have every right to reiterate that our laws against sex discrimination mean exactly what everyone has understood them to mean since the moment of their adoption.

Skrmetti added that the bill’s enactment “ensures continued protection of educational opportunities and privacy rights for girls and women.”

Inspired by the Women’s Bill of Rights, the bill, SB1440/HB0239, legally defines “sex” as a person’s “immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth and evidence of a person’s biological sex,” according to its official summary.

“Evidence of a person’s biological sex includes, but is not limited to, a government-issued identification document that accurately reflects a person’s sex listed on the person’s original birth certificate,” the bill’s summary adds.

Independent Women’s Voice, an advocacy organization that “fights for women and families,” commended Lee for signing off on the legislation, saying that the bill “protects equal opportunity for women.”

The group further stated that the newly-passed legislation will “prevent judges, unelected bureaucrats, and administrators in Tennessee from unilaterally redefining the word ‘sex’ to include ‘gender identity’ or from redefining the word ‘woman’ to mean anyone who “identifies as a woman.”

“At IW, we know what a woman is. And we are proud that Tennessee lawmakers do too,” Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s law Center, the legal advocacy arm of Independent Women’s Voice, said in a statement.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Bill Lee” by Gov. Bill Lee. Background Photo “Women” by Joel Muniz.