A sweeping Republican bill in Kentucky aimed at regulating the lives of trans youths, including banning access to gender-affirming health care and restricting the bathrooms they can use, was vetoed on Friday by the Democratic governor.
SB 150 also bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools with students of any age and allows teachers to refuse to refer to transgender students by the pronouns they use.
Gov. Andy Beshear said in a written veto message that the bill allows “too much government interference in personal healthcare issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children.
“Senate Bill 150 further strips freedom from parents to make personal family decisions on the names their children are called and how people should refer to them.”
It also “turns educators and administrators into investigators,” Beshear said, forcing them to eavesdrop on student conversations and then confront their families.
In his one-page message, Beshear warned that the bill’s repercussions would include an increase in youth suicides.
“My faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky.”
The bill easily passed the GOP-dominated legislature with veto-proof margins last week.
Lawmakers will reconvene next week for the final two days of this year’s session, when they could vote to override the governor’s veto.
Republican lawmakers condemned Beshear’s veto, calling him “radical.”
Transgender medical treatments have long been available in the United States and are endorsed by major medical associations.
The Bill would have required school districts to “at a minimum” bar trans students from using the restrooms comporting with their gender identity and mandated that school personnel tell parents about confidential discussions with students about sexual orientation or gender identity, essentially forcing the outing of students.
Kentucky’s legislation is part of a national movement, with state lawmakers approving extensive measures that restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ people this year, from bills targeting trans athletes and drag performers to measures limiting gender-affirming care.
Those states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah.
Florida has put one in place through its medical boards and is considering a bill for an even stricter measure.
The Alabama and Arkansas bans are temporarily blocked by court action.