ATLANTA (AP) – A proposal banning transgender girls and women in Georgia from playing on school and college sports teams will be amended after a committee hearing in which opponents attacked him as illegal under federal law and unnecessarily cruel.

Rep. Philip Singleton, a Republican from Sharpsburg, said Tuesday that House Bill 276 is needed to prevent girls from wrongly losing to those born men.

“Giving a biological man the ability to compete against biological women is bad for our girls and bad for our children,” Singleton told a subcommittee on home education.

The committee heard testimony about the bill but took no action. Subcommittee chairman Will Wade, a Republican from Dawsonville, said he wanted to meet with Singleton to discuss changes, including some of Singleton’s proposed during Tuesday’s session. It is unclear whether the bill will be brought forward or what these changes will look like.

The bill bans transgender girls from competing for public high schools as well as private opponents of public high schools. It would also prohibit them from applying for a public university in Georgia, although it does not seek to rule public university opponents.

Opponents say the bill will single out a group that is already among the most marginalized in society, leaving them even more exposed to harassment.

“My daughter happens to be transgender and there is a lot of misunderstanding about what that really means,” said Jen Slipakoff of Kennesaw, who said her 13-year-old transgender daughter plays lacrosse. “It is not dangerous for my daughter to be on the same sports team as her friends. She does not take the place of another, more deserving girl, as if my daughter deserves less than. She is not a threat.”

Proponents of the bill argue that because transgender girls were born male, they are inherently stronger, faster, and taller than born women.

“These are fundamental biological differences between men and women,” Cole Muzio, president and executive director of the Christian-conservative Family Policy Alliance of Georgia, told committee members.

The bill is part of a nationwide push by conservative groups. The Georgia move is similar to a 2020 Idaho law blocked by a federal judge while a lawsuit is being settled. Some other states, such as Texas, have rules that require athletes to play in teams that match the gender on their birth certificate.

Legislature has passed bills to restrict transgender student athletics in a number of other states, including Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

It’s unclear how many transgender athletes are currently competing in Georgia. Robin Hines, executive director of the Georgia High School Association, said the association is not following the issue and is accepting decisions made by member schools about which students play.

Singleton objects to the characterization that the bill is aimed at transgender people and says it helps girls.

“We don’t select transgender students,” he said. “We protect women.”

Opponents say the bill violates Title IX of the Federal Education Act to prohibit Gender Discrimination, an executive order signed by Democratic President Joe Biden, anti-gender discrimination in school sports and elsewhere, and judgments from the US and 11th Supreme Court. US bans appeals court.

“We believe HB 276 creates a definition and requires action inconsistent with Title IX and court rulings,” Georgia School Boards Association lobbyist Angela Palm wrote against the bill.

Singleton and other Conservatives disagree with this interpretation of Title IX. He said Tuesday that Biden’s order was “out of law”. However, others say the measure does not stand up to judicial review.

“I’m sure you’d agree that we need to get constitutional laws passed here,” said Rep. Matthew Wilson, a Brookhaven Democrat who stated that he is the only openly gay member of the House Education Committee.