Kentucky’s legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of a bill that bans performing transgender medical procedures on minors such as puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgeries.
The Bluegrass State is now the 13th U.S. state to enact legislation restricting transgender procedures related to minors, measures that critics say will irreparably damage children.
The measure also prohibits school district or individual school policies that hide student information from parents.
The bill also bars school districts from requiring the use of pronouns “that do not conform to that student’s biological sex.” And it requires schools to restrict bathroom use by biological sex, not self-declared gender identity.
Mr. Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed the measure Friday and the Republican-led General Assembly acted to reverse him just five days later. The measure, S.B. 150, received overwhelming legislative support when passed by both houses earlier this year.
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, a Republican challenging Mr. Beshear in gubernatorial elections this year, said on Twitter that the bill “protects our youth from irreversible medical procedures. Beshear vetoed this bill because he is beholden to the far left.”
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the override.
Amber Duke, executive director of the ACLU’s Kentucky chapter, called the override “another shameful attack on LGBTQ youth” in the state and vowed a court fight. She said lawmakers rejected “the experts” who opposed the measure but listened to “harmful rhetoric based in fear and hate.”
State Sen. Karen Berg, a Louisville Democrat whose transgender son died by suicide in December, decried the override in a floor speech while the chants of protesters could be heard in the chamber.
“To say this is a bill that protects children is disingenuous,” Ms. Berg said. “To call this a parent’s rights bill is an absolutely despicable affront to me personally.”
But state Sen. Lindsey Tichenor, Smithfield Republican, told colleagues the bill was needed to protect children.
“We need to realize we are driving children to a life of irreversible damage” by allowing these procedures, she said.
Family values advocates applauded the override.
Terry Schilling of the American Principles Project called Mr. Beshear’s veto “disgraceful.”
“Children have been particularly victimized, as they have been indoctrinated with the spurious idea that they can be ‘born in the wrong body’ and encouraged to respond to any discomfort with their identity by pursuing life-altering, dangerous drugs and medical procedures,” he said.
According to Matt Sharp, a senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the override enacts “vital protections for young children and parents” against being “pressured into agreeing to life-altering, so-called ‘gender transition’ procedures.”
Mr. Sharp, who heads ADF’s Center for Legislative Advocacy, said nations such as Sweden, England and Finland “are adopting policies that better protect children from the bad science that has already devastated countless lives” and said the Kentucky move adds safeguards for children and parents there.
• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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