Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear on Friday vetoed a sweeping bill passed by Republican lawmakers that would drastically restrict the rights of transgender youth in the commonwealth — though GOP lawmakers can still override his veto.
Senate Bill 150, slammed by LGBTQ advocates as “dangerous” and “unprecedented,” would “terrorize transgender youth in schools, in doctor’s offices, and even could put them in danger at home,” according to Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director of the Human Rights Campaign.
Beshear, a Democrat, said in a statement he would veto the legislation because “my faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky.”
If signed into law, SB 150 would ban doctors from providing age-appropriate gender-affirming medical care to trans youth, ban trans students from using the bathrooms that match their gender identity, and ban classroom discussion about gender identity and sexual orientation. It would also allow schools to misgender students and erase protections that prevent teachers from “outing” transgender and nonbinary students to their parents without their consent.
The bill easily passed the GOP-dominated legislature earlier this month. State lawmakers, who will reconvene next week for the final two days of this year’s session, could vote to override the governor’s veto.
In a written veto message, Beshear cited a 2022 national survey on LGBTQ youth mental health by The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth. The survey found that 45% of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in the past year, with one in five trans or nonbinary respondents reporting that they attempted suicide.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, Beshear said families of trans children contacted his office as he reviewed the legislation.
“I heard from children that believe this bill is picking on them, and asking — in many ways — why?” the governor said. “I told them that I was going to show them that there is at least one person in Frankfort that cares for all of our children in the commonwealth, no matter what.”
Late last month, a statewide poll released by the Fairness Campaign, found that 71% of registered Kentucky voters opposed Kentucky laws that would allow the state to overrule parents’ decisions to obtain certain healthcare for their transgender teen.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky on Friday praised the governor for vetoing the “cruelest piece of anti-trans legislation in the nation,” but noted that the “GOP supermajority can and likely will override his veto.”
With News Wire Services
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