When South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem backpedaled on her support for a state bill banning transgender participation in women’s sports leagues, social conservatives denounced the rising Republican star as a traitor.
Noem on Friday partially vetoed the popular bill, warning state legislators that she feared retribution from the NCAA, which in the past has fought states on transgender issues. Noem previously had supported the bill enthusiastically, leading many of its proponents to excoriate her sudden hesitation as a bow to the state’s left-leaning Chamber of Commerce. . .
The transgender fiasco is Noem’s first since her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic catapulted her into the national spotlight. And it recalls the stumblings of another Republican star confronted with a crisis over social issues: Mike Pence. “It’s a familiar playbook,” said Ryan Anderson, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, noting that both Noem and Pence backed off their principles when faced with hard choices related to sexual orientation and identity. . .
While governor of Indiana in 2015, Pence became embroiled in a fight that had both gay marriage proponents and social conservatives at his throat. The issue was the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Pence signed with broad approval from Republicans. [Then later, while] considering a presidential run, [Pence] sign[ed] further legislation intended expressly to protect gay and transgender people from discrimination. But this move only angered religious conservatives, Pence’s base, who complained that the new legislation gutted the protections given to them in the original bill. (Read more from “How Kristi Noem’s Transgender Sports Veto Tapped Into the ‘Spirit of Mike Pence'” HERE)