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Gov. Andy Beshear vetoes bill banning transgender athletes

While the Fairness Campaign executive director praised the decision, the Family Foundation criticized the veto.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky governor vetoed Senate Bill 83, which would ban transgender girls from participating in school sports.

Chris Hartman with the Fairness Campaign said he thinks people forget they are talking about children.

"Middle schoolers who simply want the same opportunities to play on sports teams with their friends. It is a downright shame that legislators have prioritized this type of discrimination over other issues that are clearly affecting more Kentuckians," said Hartman.

The Family Foundation also released a statement criticizing the veto. They said, "Kentucky girls and women deserve a fair playing field," adding the governor put politics over Kentucky's female athletes.

Lawmakers will have a chance to override any vetoes when they return to Frankfort April 13.

Original story:

The Kentucky Senate advanced a measure March 24 that would bar transgender girls from participating in school sports that match their gender identity from sixth grade to college. 

The Republican-backed bill was amended in the House, so it had to go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote. It was sent to the governor's desk March 25.

Under the proposal, the gender of a student for the purpose of determining athletic eligibility would be determined by the ”student’s certified birth certificate as originally issued at the time of birth or adoption.”

If Senate Bill 83 passes into law, Kentucky would join a growing number of GOP-dominated states adopting similar bans, though the bans have been challenged in several states as violations of federal law. 

In almost every one of those states, sponsors have been unable to cite a single instance in their own state or region where such participation has caused problems.

American Civil Liberties Union Kentucky spokesman Samuel Crankshaw, in a statement, called the measure a “solution in search of a non-existent problem.”

“If this becomes law, it will jeopardize our children’s mental health, physical well-being, and ability to access educational opportunities comparable to their peers,” Crankshaw said.

Crankshaw said that lawmakers should focus on what Kentucky students and educators really need rather than "single out vulnerable children to score cheap political points."

Senate Bill 83 violates students' Constitutional rights to equal protection and privacy said Crankshaw. He called it, "hateful, unconstitutional legislation."

"We strongly urge Governor Beshear to veto this hateful, unconstitutional legislation," he said. "To all the students who may be affected by this legislation: we stand by you and will not stop fighting."

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