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Gov. Andy Beshear vetoes sweeping anti-trans measure that would ‘endanger the children of Kentucky’


Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday vetoed a bill passed by Republican lawmakers that would sharply restrict the rights of transgender youth in the Commonwealth, though Republican lawmakers can still override their veto.

Criticized by LGBTQ advocates as “dangerous” and “unprecedented,” Senate Bill 150 would “terrorize transgender youth in schools, in doctor’s offices, and could even put them in danger at home,” according to Cathryn Oakley, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign.

Beshear, a Democrat, said in a statement that he would veto the legislation because “my faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will put Kentucky’s children at risk.”

If signed into law, SB 150 would prohibit doctors from providing age-appropriate, gender-affirming health care to trans youth, prohibit trans students from using restrooms that match their gender identity, and prohibit discussion in the classroom. classroom on gender identity and sexual orientation. It would also allow schools to confuse the gender of students and erase protections that prevent teachers from “exposing” transgender and non-binary students to their parents without their consent.

The bill easily passed the GOP-dominated legislature earlier this month. State lawmakers, who will meet again next week for the last 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 the mental health of LGBTQ youth conducted by The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth. The survey found that 45% of LGBTQ youth have considered suicide in the past year, with one in five trans or non-binary respondents reporting that they have attempted suicide.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Beshear said families of transgender children contacted his office while he was reviewing the legislation.

FILE- Advocates for transgender rights gather near the Kentucky House of Representatives, Thursday, March 2, 2023, in Frankfort, Ky.

“I hear from kids who think this bill is upsetting them and asking, in many ways, why?” said the governor. “I told them that I was going to show them that there is at least one person in Frankfort who cares about all of our children in the commonwealth, no matter what.”

Late last month, a state poll released by the Fairness Campaign found that 71% of Kentucky registered voters opposed Kentucky laws that would allow the state to override parental decisions to get certain health care for their transgender teen. .

The Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union praised the governor Friday for vetoing the “the cruelest piece of anti-trans legislation in the nation,” but noted that “the vast majority of the Republican Party can and probably will override their veto.”

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