Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature on Wednesday overrode a gubernatorial veto of a massive bill targeting transgender rights, one of the most extreme anti-trans measures in the country.
Governor Andy Beshear vetoed Senate Bill 150 last week, warning it would cause an “increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth” if it became law. But the measure had already passed both the House and Senate, mainly along party lines. A veto override requires only a simple majority vote from both chambers.
On Wednesday, the General Assembly re-passed the bill by a vote of 76–23 in the House and 28–9 in the Senate, meaning that the measure will now become law.
S.B. 150 will ban all gender-affirming care for trans minors in Kentucky and would force doctors to detransition any minors in their care. It would prohibit discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools at any level, prevent trans students from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, and would allow teachers to refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns.
“Good people will die because of what we’ve done here today,” Representative Daniel Grossberg said during the voting.
“To the LGBTQ children listening: You are not broken, your government is.”
Hundreds of people had gathered outside the state Capitol building earlier in the day to protest the measure, which the ACLU of Kentucky has described as “the worst anti-trans bill in the country.” Courier Journal reporter Olivia Krauth said the crowd may be the largest she has seen during the current legislative session.
Security had forcibly removed protesters from the gallery during voting. They stayed in the Capitol Rotunda, chanting, “Trans rights!”
Republicans had rushed the measure through the House and Senate in a record daylong sprint. A different omnibus anti-trans measure had looked dead in the water last Wednesday night. But the next morning, Republicans resurrected and expanded the text, forcing it through despite long and often emotional arguments against it from Democrats and trans rights activists.
Kentucky is one of many states, particularly Republican-led ones, trying to reduce LGBTQ rights. Just last week, Florida advanced an anti-trans bill so broad and extreme it could also prevent people from getting treated for breast cancer. In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp signed a law banning gender-affirming care for minors and criminalizing medical workers who provide that care.