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Nebraska’s bishops disappointed in NSAA vote

Disappointed but not giving up.

That might summarize the reaction of Nebraska’s bishops to the Nebraska School Activities Association’s (NSAA) statewide representative assembly vote April 8 retaining a pathway for transgender participation in high school sports and other activities.

The 51-member assembly voted 27-23 to oppose a proposal the bishops backed – formalizing the long-standing practice of basing high school sports participation on a student’s sex as noted on the birth certificate. There was one abstention.

"We deeply regret that the NSAA Representative Assembly did not approve the ‘sex on the certificate at birth’ proposal," Archbishop George J. Lucas and Bishops James D. Conley of Lincoln and Joseph G. Hanefeldt of Grand Island said in a statement released by the Nebraska Catholic Conference.

"The Catholic member schools of the NSAA, through the Nebraska Catholic Conference, will continue to urge the NSAA to rescind the Board of Directors’ policy and to require that students participate in NSAA activities according to their sex at birth."

The bishops said all people are entitled to respect, concern and support, but such support must consider fairness, safety, privacy and rights of all students, and the truth about the human person.

"Recognizing the truth about each person’s biological sex, and basing policies upon that fundamental truth, would serve the best interest of Nebraska’s students, families and schools," the bishops said.

The assembly’s vote came after the NSAA Board voted 6-2 Jan. 14 approving a policy allowing male students who identify as females to compete on girls’ teams – and females who identify as males to compete on boys’ teams.

Earlier in January, four of the six NSAA districts approved the "sex-at-birth" proposal, prompting the state’s bishops to note that the "sex at birth" proposal reflects the majority of NSAA member schools, including a majority of public schools.

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