Governor Andy Beshear of Kentucky blocked a bill establishing policies on bathroom usage, health care, and sexual orientation discussions as they relate to transgenderism from becoming law.
Senate Bill 150 was passed by the state legislature on March 16 following an hours-long legislative session that rallied Republican support for the omnibus bill. The House voted 75-22 in favor of the bill followed by a 30-7 vote in favor in the Senate.
Proponents of early medical intervention for transgender-identifying minors and advocates for LGBTQ issues denounced the law as a malicious, politically motivated move.
Beshar said the bill would cause an increase in suicides among young Kentuckians.
“My faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky,” the Democratic governor wrote in a one-page explanation of his veto.
The bill initially required schools to use pronouns that correspond with a student’s biological sex even if the student identifies as another gender. Additionally, schools would be required to notify parents before allowing transgender-identifying students to use pronouns that did not correspond with their biological gender.
After being amended, the bill mandates that schools create bathroom policies that required individuals to use facilities that correspond with their biological gender and notify students’ parents when and if they receive any mental health services related to sexuality. Public schools would also be prohibited from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with any students of any age group.
Additionally, SB 150 prohibited the prescription of puberty blockers, hormones or surgery for the treatment of gender dysphoria for anyone under the age of 18. Healthcare providers who violate the policy would have had their licenses revoked.
“SB150 is one of the most extreme anti-trans bills in the nation right now,” tweeted Kentucky Congressman Morgan McGarvey on March 16. “This bill is so miserable, mean, and misinformed the Republicans had to sneak it through late in the session despite having supermajorities.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky applauded Beshear for his veto, describing the bill as “hateful” and “rushed through.”
“Governor Beshear has demonstrated his commitments to protect Kentucky parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit, and to keep medical decisions where they belong: between providers and patients,” wrote the ACLU Kentucky in a March 24 statement. “The adults in the General Assembly should focus on what students, teachers, and schools really need, rather than single out vulnerable children to score cheap political points. ”
Kentucky Republicans stood firm in their support of the bill and denounced the governor’s veto.
“Andy Beshear thinks it’s okay for children to have access to life-altering sex change surgery and drugs before they turn 18,” said Sean Southard, a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican Party, per ABC News. “Today, he revealed how radical he truly is.”
State Representative David Meade said before the vote that he believed passing SB 150 was “the right thing to do” regardless of any electoral repercussions.
“If we’re going to protect children, we need to ensure that surgery or drugs that completely alter their life and alter their body is not something we should be allowing them until they’re adults and can choose that for themselves,” Meade said, per LEO Weekly.
The Republican-controlled legislature is expected to override his decision during its legislative session on March 29 or March 30.