Lawmakers in a New York county pass transgender athlete ban after earlier ban is thrown out in court

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A county legislature outside New York City has voted to bar transgender female athletes from playing on girls' and women's teams at county-owned facilities after a bid to restrict trans athletes by executive order was thrown out in court.

The Republican-controlled Nassau County Legislature voted 12-5 on Monday to bar trans athletes from playing at county-owned facilities unless they compete on teams matching the gender they were assigned at birth or on coed teams.

The move followed Republican County Executive Bruce Blakeman's Feb. 22 executive order attempting to enact a similar ban.

A judge ruled in May that Blakeman had issued his order “despite there being no corresponding legislative enactment” providing him with such authority. Blakeman is now expected to sign the bill into law.

The New York Times reports that transgender advocates packed Monday's meeting holding signs that read “trans women are women.”

Republican Legislator John. R. Ferretti Jr. said the bill was not a transgender ban since trans women would still be able to compete, just in men’s or coed leagues.

Audience members chanted “lies!”

Blakeman had said his earlier ban was meant to protect girls and women from getting injured while competing against transgender women. It would have affected more than 100 sports facilities in the county on Long Island next to New York City.

Blakeman's executive order was challenged by state Attorney General Letitia James, who issued a cease and desist letter, and by a women's roller derby league, the Long Island Roller Rebels, which filed a lawsuit over the ban.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the roller derby league, said after Monday's vote, "This is a hateful and blatantly illegal bill. If signed into law, we’ll see Nassau in court - again."

The vote was along party lines with two of the legislature's seven Democrats absent.

Newsday reports that Democratic Legislator Arnold Drucker said the bill was “in clear contravention of the state law," adding, "It’s beyond me why this county executive wants to continue squandering taxpayer hard-earned dollars on legal fees defending this law.”