Speed Reads

Protests in Kentucky

Kentucky lawmakers pass strict anti-transgender law, overriding governor's veto

Kentucky's GOP-led legislature voted Wednesday to override the governor's veto of a controversial bill that would create new restrictions for transgender people. The bill, which has now been made law by the legislature's override, puts into effect some of the strictest obstacles yet for the transgender community. 

The bill, which The New York Times noted was "described by LGBTQ rights groups as among the most extreme in the nation," was vetoed last week by Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D). Beshear, an outspoken liberal advocate in a staunchly red state, had said that the bill allows "too much government interference in personal healthcare issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children."

However, Beshear's veto was swiftly brushed aside by both the Kentucky State Senate and House, with the bodies voting 29-8 and 76-23, to overrule the governor. 

The new law, Kentucky SB 150, creates a series of heightened restrictions around many tools used by transgender children. The law, among other things, "prohibits conversations around sexual orientation or gender identity in school for students of all grades; requires school districts to forbid trans students from using the bathroom tied to their gender identities; allows teachers to refuse to use a student's preferred pronouns; and bans all gender-affirming medical care for trans youth," USA Today reported. 

As the legislature met, a significant protest was seen outside of the Kentucky Capitol building, which eventually led to several arrests.  

Despite the bill becoming law, it is expected to face opposition in the state courts. 

"While we lost the battle in the legislature, our defeat is temporary," Fairness Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman said, per the Lexington Herald-Leader"We will not lose in court...thousands of Kentucky kids came to the Capitol today to make their voices heard against the worst anti-trans bill in the nation."