Mississippi Enacts “SAFER Act” To Protect Women and Girls

May 15, 2024

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a law this week that correctly declares that male and female are the “only two sexes” and effectively bans biological males from using female restrooms and changing areas in public education buildings. The law mandates that all public education institutions have restrooms designated for the “exclusive” use by females and separate restrooms exclusively for males or have a single-sex facility intended for one occupant.

The law, SB 2753, known as the “Securing Areas for Females Effectively and Responsibly (SAFER) Act,” overwhelmingly passed in the Mississippi Senate 40-12 and in the House 81-31. Gov. Reeves touted on the social media platform X that the law is a “win” for the protection of women and girls, which took effect immediately after he signed it. The measure allows individuals to enter spaces designated only for their biological sex but stipulates that people may enter “sex-designated” facilities of the opposite sex under specific circumstances, such as emergency situations, when assisting a person, for custodial and maintenance purposes, or when a person’s designated facility is out of order and the opposite sex is not present in the room.

The legislation also authorizes a “private enforcement” option for victims to bring legal action against violators while empowering the state attorney general with the same legal action to “enforce compliance.”

Mississippi joins at least 11 other states that have laws protecting women and girls in public facilities, and joins at least five other states in codifying into law definitions of “sex,” “male,” and “female,” such as Idaho, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, and Tennessee. While the governors in Oklahoma and Nebraska have recently issued executive orders also defining the word “woman,” “man,” “mother,” “father,” “girl,” and “boy,” Mississippi’s law only provides three main sex-related definitions. 

Mississippi defines “sex” as “clinically verified at birth” as male and female which are “objective and fixed” without any “regard to fluidity of how someone acts or feels.” The state says a “female” is a person who “naturally” has, will have, or would have had “the reproductive system that at some point produces eggs.” Conversely, Mississippi says a “male” is a person who “naturally” has, will have, or would have had “the reproductive system that at some point produces sperm.” 

In his social media post, Gov. Reeves noted the fact that having to pass a law protecting women in bathrooms was “unimaginable” a few years ago. Yet, that is now indicative of “Joe Biden’s America” with an administration that pushes “dangerous” ideology that harms “biological women.” Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced revisions to Title IX rules broadening sex discrimination law that applies to federally funded schools and education programs. Title IX was established in 1972 to create equal educational opportunities for men and women. However, the Biden administration has now expanded the law to include gender identity and sexual orientation as protected categories against discrimination. The new rules interpret federal law as to allow gender confused individuals to use restrooms, changing areas, and facilities that correspond with their gender identity rather than spaces reserved for their biological sex. Failure to comply with the new regulations could result in the federal government withholding taxpayer dollars from educational institutions. 

Since the new Title IX rules directly conflict with the “SAFER Act,” Mississippi is one of at least 15 states that are suing the Biden administration in the federal courts over the changes so they can protect women’s spaces and their opportunities in education and athletics. The states are rejecting the new Title IX rules as unconstitutional and are asking the courts to delay the changes, which are set to take effect Aug 1, 2024. 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “We commend Governor Reeves and Mississippi legislators for protecting women and girls against an extreme and destructive political agenda. Allowing biological males to use private facilities for females violates the right to privacy and places females at risk of sexual abuse. More states need to push back against the gender ideology agenda to keep women and girls safe.”

For more information about state laws protecting against gender ideology, visit Liberty Counsel’s website here.

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