Kentucky Governor Vetoes Transgender Athlete Bill
Andy Beshear, governor of Kentucky, speaks during a news conference in Frankfort, Kentucky, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022.
Jon Cherry/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear vetoed a bill passed by the state’s GOP-led legislature on Wednesday that would have prohibited biological males from participating in female sports from 6th grade through college in the Bluegrass State.

SB 83, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, had overwhelmingly passed in the state’s House of Representatives 70-23 and in the Senate 26-9.

The strong vote, however, did not deter Beshear from opposing the new bill.

“If it were truly the intention of the General Assembly to prevent unfair advantage in women’s sports, it needed to look no further than the policies of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association,” Beshear wrote in a letter with his veto.

“The KHSAA [Kentucky High School Athletic Association] has approached the issue of transgender sports participation with nuance, collaboration and a sense of fairness that would allow transgender children the opportunity to participate in sports without disturbing the competitive balance. Senate Bill 83 disregards these efforts, inserting the General Assembly into our schools and imposing a complete ban on transgender children to compete in girls’ sports,” he added.

State Republican Rep. Savannah Maddox blasted the veto as part of Beshear’s “woke progressive agenda.”

“Surprise, surprise. Andy Beshear has vetoed the Save Women’s Sports Act. In reality, Kentuckians aren’t shocked that the governor has yet again prioritized his woke progressive agenda over ensuring that young women and girls are able to compete on a level playing field,” she wrote.

David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation in Kentucky, argued the General Assembly should override the governor’s veto.

“Gov. Beshear chose to side with his woke political base instead of Kentucky’s female athletes. The General Assembly must override veto so we can #SaveWomensSports in KY!” he wrote.

“Kentucky girls and women deserve a fair playing field,” Walls added in a statement. “Kentuckians overwhelmingly support this commonsense bill, but unfortunately, Gov. Beshear chose to side with his woke political base instead of Kentucky’s female athletes. Biology matters, especially in sports, and we look forward to the General Assembly overriding Beshear’s tone-deaf veto so that women’s sports in Kentucky can be protected.”

The bill only requires a simple majority to override a veto. The state’s lawmakers are likely to overrule the governor’s decision to turn the bill into law without Beshear’s signature. Approximately a dozen states have now passed similar laws into effect.

The Republican governors of Utah and Indiana vetoed similar laws this year, citing concerns over legal challenges.

Last month, Indiana Republican Governor Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill passed by the state’s legislature that would have banned biological males from competing in girls’ sports in the Hoosier state. The Daily Wire reported:

The veto stands in contrast with a growing number of GOP governors who have signed similar bills in recent months, including Iowa and South Dakota.

Holcomb argued in a letter to Indiana state Speaker Todd Huston (R) that the bill would increase “the likelihood of litigation against our schools with the courts having to adjudicate the uncertainties.”

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