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Kentucky legislature denies governor’s veto over transgender sports ban

Kentucky’s legislature voted Wednesday to override Governor Andy Beshear’s veto of a bill that would ban transgender girls and women from competing on women’s sports teams, making the state the sixth enactment of such legislation this year and 15th so far.

Beshear, a Democrat, veto the bill last week, saying it “most likely” violates the Constitution because it “discriminates against transgender children.” In contrast, advocates argue that the measure is necessary to protect the rights of transgender girls and women in school sports.

The override of the legislature passed the Senate in a vote of 29-8 and in the House, 72-23. The law took effect immediately.

“This is a huge victory for the integrity of women’s sport and with the inevitable passage of Senate Bill 83 into law,” said Republican Sen. Robby Mills, one of the funding of the bill, say reporters after the vote. “Kentucky is the leading voice for female athletes across the country. The Kentucky General Assembly supports female athletes everywhere as they work hard to achieve their goals and dreams. ”

The transgender athletes debate has become at the center of the nation’s culture wars following the recent success of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas of the University of Pennsylvania.

Thomas became the first transgender athlete to win the NCAA championship last month, finishing first in the 500-yard freestyle at the Division I finals in Atlanta, following a successful season on the swimming and diving teams. Female Penn.

Mills and other conservative lawmakers invited University of Kentucky swimmer Riley Gaines, who swam against Thomas in the NCAA championship race, to bolster the case for legislation. Gaines told reporters Wednesday that she wants the NCAA to change its guidelines for transgender athletes.

“I know I speak on behalf of the majority of female athletes across all NCAA sports when I say that biological men shouldn’t compete with women,” Gaines said. “It is important for the NCAA to open its eyes and recognize the irrefutable damage to everything Title IX stands for: equality, equity, and the opportunity for women to succeed at the level. excellence and in life.”

In January, the NCAA establish each sport’s sports policy for transgender athletes, allowing each sport’s national governing body to decide on its own rules. International Olympic Committee adopted child same guide last year.

The Kentucky legislature’s vote to override the governor’s veto on the sports bill also comes amid a nationwide culture war over LGBTQ and transgender issues in particular.

Between January 1 and March 15, state legislators proposed a record 238 bills restricting LGBTQ rights — or more than three rights a day — with about half of them targeting specifically to transgender people, according to a NBC News analysis data from the American Civil Liberties Union and the LGBTQ advocacy group Freedom for All Americans.

This year’s historic vote tally quickly follows what some advocates have called the “worst year in recent history for LGBTQ state legislative attacks,” as 191 bills were proposed. released last year.

Measures to prevent transgender students from competing on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity have been among the most successful among anti-LGBTQ bills submitted in recent years, with more than a dozen bills becoming law nationwide.

This year, ahead of Kentucky, legislators in five other states – Arizona, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah and Iowa – Transgender athletes bill enacted.

Last month, Wyoming Governor Spencer J. Cox also veto version of his state metric, citing data that only four high school transfer students played sports in Utah.

Cox wrote in a letter to the Senate president and speaker of the House: “Rarely has so much fear and anger directed toward so few. “I don’t understand what they’re going through or why they feel this way. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can significantly reduce suicide.”

A survey last year by The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization, found that 42 percent of the nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth surveyed seriously consider suicide. in the previous year. More than half of transgender and non-bisexual youth surveyed seriously consider suicide.

As in Kentucky, the legislature of Utah voted to override veto power of the governor.

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