In the great debate regarding transgender sports participation, another Governor has cast their vote blocking legislation. Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed a Kentucky transgender sports bill that arrived on his desk yesterday morning. Beshear is the third governor in the last few weeks that have blocked such legislation while more than 14 states have made it law.
Senate Bill 83 was introduced into Congress by Republican Senator Robby Mills of District 4. Relating to Kentucky transgender sports, the legislation was aimed at barring transgender girls and women from being able to participate in school sports matching their gender identity in grades six up to college. By law, it would require students to sign up for sports in line with the gender they were assigned at birth. The piece of legislation easily made it through both the state’s Republican-controlled House and Senate but was vetoed yesterday by the Democratic Governor in what its supporters claimed to be a “woke” decision.
While the Governor has not publicly spoken out about his decision to veto the Kentucky transgender sports bill, he did leave a veto message, according to reports from the Associated Press. In his message, the Democratic governor said that the measure violated the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection rights, saying that it “most likely” discriminates against transgender children. Plenty of others throughout the nation agree.
Activists, politicians, and even the Federal Government have discussed further scrutinizing states that have already enacted similar legislation to the Kentucky transgender sports bill. They believe that restricting transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports is a direct violation of federal law, Title IX. Under this law, schools are prohibited from any form of discrimination on the basis of sex.
Furthermore, Governor Beshear said that his decision to veto the Kentucky transgender sports bill was decided because his Republican constituents were unable to prove a “single instance” in the state of a transgender student gaining a competitive advantage as a result of a sex reassignment. Beshear’s veto was praised by a local LGBTQ advocacy group, the Fairness Campaign. The group’s executive director, Chris Hartman, said the proposed legislation was “harmful”. He, and others, believe the only thing the law would do is further hurt transgender students by taking away their opportunity to play on a sports team.
But Republicans in Kentucky aren’t giving up yet. The bill’s lead sponsor said that the bill would ensure fairness for biologically born females. To go against opponents’ claims that there is no proof of unfairness, Mills said that the Kentucky transgender sports bill “thinks ahead” to prevent situations like that from happening. For example, Mills said that it would be “crushing” for a female-born student to spend her whole life training for a sport only to lose out to a biologically born male. David Walls, the executive director of The Family Foundation, said the governor’s veto was a “woke” measure. He also touted looking forward to the General Assembly overriding Beshear’s “tone-deaf veto.” in the name of protecting females’ rights.
While the governor did veto the measure yesterday, the Kentucky transgender sports bill is not dead in the water. Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature will soon get the chance to override the veto when lawmakers meet on April 13th. Whether or not the legislation becomes law, the culture war affecting America’s students rages on.