Lawmakers in Kentucky on Wednesday
overrode Governor Andy Beshear's veto of a bill that prohibits
transgender girls from competing on sports teams consistent with
their gender identity.
Republicans overrode Beshear's veto 70
to 23 in the House and 26 to 9 in the Senate.
In his veto letter, Beshear, a
Democrat, said that the bill was unnecessary because guidelines are
already being implemented by the Kentucky High School Athletic
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 override vote makes Kentucky the
15th state with such a ban.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, accused the Kentucky General
Assembly of “politicizing” transgender children.
“[T]he Kentucky General Assembly
chose to politicize these kids, to isolate them, to prevent them from
being included and to prevent them from being able to play with their
friends – and all without addressing the actual challenges facing
women’s sports programs, like chronic underfunding,” said HRC
State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley.
“Kentucky's legislators should never forget that they are culpable
for the harm that they are causing to children, who must now bear the
weight of even more discrimination.”
“We sincerely thank Gov. Beshear for
seeing the humanity of transgender youth and speaking out against
this discriminatory legislation. The Human Rights Campaign condemns
this action by the Kentucky General Assembly and will continue to use
every tool at our disposal to fight for the rights all transgender
youth and their families,” Oakley said.