INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would ban transgender girls from playing girls’ school sports. House Bill 1041 passed the House education committee Monday morning on an 8-4 vote, which was mostly along party lines, with State Rep. Ed Clere (R-New Albany) joining all Democrats on the committee to vote against the bill.

An amendment was added to exclude college sports from the bill. Lawmakers heard hours of testimony from supporters and opponents.

“A vote for House Bill 1041 is a vote for my daughters, their teammates,” said Heather Ruble, an Indianapolis mother of four student-athletes who swim. Ruble and other advocates argue the bill ensures fairness in girls’ sports.

“While my girls have earned positions on limited college rosters, their younger teammates may not be as fortunate if biological males continue to be allowed to grab those spots,” Ruble said.

Opponents argue the bill is unfair to transgender girls. “We just want her to be able to play with her friends and learn the life lessons that come from playing sports,” said Nathaniel Clawson, whose 9-year-old daughter is transgender.

Clawson, who testified against the proposal, said his daughter wants to play volleyball. But she would not be able to play if the bill becomes law. “When we talk about fairness, I look at what it’s going to take away from my daughter,” Clawson said. “My daughter is not going to have any of the advantages that they are talking about.”

As the bill’s author, State Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Whiteland), asked her colleagues to support the bill, State Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) questioned why the bill is necessary. “Do we have a large number of biological males playing on female teams in this state?” DeLaney asked.

“We don’t as of yet, but wouldn’t it be a tragedy if your granddaughter didn’t get to play?” Davis responded. Shortly after the vote, a brief protest erupted in the chamber, with a group chanting, “stand up, fight back,” for about 20 seconds before leaving peacefully.