Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, a
Democrat, on Wednesday vetoed a bill that sought to prohibit
transgender girls from competing on sports teams consistent with
their gender identity.
Beshear is the third governor after GOP
governors in Utah and Indiana to veto such a bill.
In his veto letter, Beshear said that
the bill was unnecessary because guidelines are already being
implemented by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA).
“Under the KHSAA policy, a
student-athlete cannot compete if they have an unfair advantage,"
Beshear said. "The KHSAA policy requires that a student-athlete
who has undergone sex reassignment after puberty must take hormonal
therapy in a verifiable manner and for a sufficient length of time to
minimize gender-related advantages in competition."
Beshear added that Senate Bill 83,
titled the Fairness in Womens' Sports Act, “most likely violates
the equal protection rights afforded by the United States
Constitution because it discriminates against transgender children
seeking to participate in girls' or womens' sports.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, said that the governor had
done “the right thing” by vetoing the bill and called on
lawmakers not to override his veto.
“Governor Beshear did the right thing
today vetoing this bill – a bill that would only cause problems,
not solve them, by singling out Kentucky’s transgender children for
exclusion and discrimination in their own schools,” said HRC State
Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley. “With the
well-being of transgender youth in the balance, Governor Beshear
lived up to Kentucky values and to his catchphrase ‘Team
“We urge lawmakers to uphold the veto
because transgender children, like all Kentucky children, deserve
better than being treated as political pawns – what they deserve is
to be able to have fun with their friends, exercise, and learn how to
be part of a team. This veto is a strong statement of Kentucky values
and the legislature must allow it to stand,” Oakley added.
GOP state lawmakers passed the measure
with veto-proof majorities.