Kentucky Legislators Override Governor’s Veto, Pass Law To Ban Transgender Athletes From Girls’ Sports
University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas on the starting block for the 200 Freestyle final during the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships on March 18th, 2022 at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta Georgia.
Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kentucky’s GOP-led legislature voted on Wednesday to override Democratic Governor Andy Beshear’s veto to enact a law to ban biological males from competing in girls’ sports from 6th-12th grades and from women’s sports in college.

The override occurred after Beshear vetoed SB 83, the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, last week and claimed the legislation would likely not hold up under legal challenges.

The bill originally passed in the Kentucky House of Representatives 70-23 and in the state Senate 26-9.

SB 83 requires a student to compete in sports according to the gender assigned at birth. Biological male athletes who seek to compete in female sports will not be allowed to participate.

“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 last week.

“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.

A spokesman from Kentucky’s American Civil Liberties Union also condemned the passage of the vetoed bill.

“This bill is a solution in search of a non-existent problem,” ACLU spokesman Samuel Crankshaw said. “It is rooted in hate and unconstitutional.”

Supporters of the new law called the override passing the law “a great day” for women and girls across the Bluegrass State.

“Today is a great day for women and girls in Kentucky,” David Walls, Executive Director of The Family Foundation, said. “Biology matters and female athletes deserve a fair and level playing field. As we have increasingly seen, when males are allowed to compete in girls’ sports, they take championships, recognition, and opportunities that belong to female athletes. Thankfully, with SB 83 becoming law, girls in Kentucky can know they have a fair opportunity to compete and take advantage of sports opportunities meant for them.”

“We commend the Kentucky General Assembly for taking action and siding with female athletes over radical gender ideology. Kentuckians will not soon forget that Gov. Beshear turned his back on girls in Kentucky,” Walls added.

The Family Foundation noted Kentucky as the 15th state to pass a law banning biological males from female sports.

The issue of biological males identifying as female to participate in women’s sports came to the forefront of national discussion as swimmer Lia Thomas, a biological male, recently won an NCAA Women’s Swimming Championship race.

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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