Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, on Tuesday announced that he has vetoed a bill that sought to prohibit transgender athletes from competing on girls' and women's sports teams.

In his veto statement, Edwards said that “discrimination is not a Louisiana value.

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” Edwards said. “Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue.”

“Further, it would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health. We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens. And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill,” he said.

Senate Bill 156, titled “The Fairness in Women's Sports Act,” cleared the Senate and House with veto-proof majorities, leaving open the possibility that the bill could still become law.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauded Edwards' decision to veto the bill.

“Governor Edwards deserves enormous credit for urging Louisianans to reject the politics of division and to focus on what brings us together, including a shared concern for vulnerable children. As his veto message rightly notes, transgender youth already face huge challenges,” Shannon Minter, Legal Director for NCLR told the Washington Blade. “Banning them from school sports would not make any child’s life better or safer, but it would bring discredit and economic hardship to the state, which likely would lose NCAA and professional championships. Governor Edward’s veto message is a model of clarity and compassion. We need more leaders with his courage.”