Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday vetoed a bill targeting transgender athletes, saying lawmakers failed to single out any instances where a child in the state gained an unfair advantage due to being transgender.
The bill would have required athletes in grades six through 12 seeking to play on female-designated sports teams to provide proof their assigned sex at birth was female.
The House passed SB83 in a 70-23 vote and the Senate sent it to Beshear's desk in a 26-9 vote. A simple majority is needed to override a gubernatorial veto.
"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, a Democrat, wrote in his veto of SB 83.
The KHSAA "recognizes and promotes the ability of transgender student-athletes to participate in the privilege of interscholastic sports and sport-activities free from unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation."
Fairness Campaign Executive Director Chris Hartman lauded Beshear for "doing the right thing today and vetoing a harmful piece of legislation that would deprive transgender girls and young women of the opportunity to grow and learn from being on a team, simply because of who they are.
"From the start, this bill has been more about fear than fairness. In Kentucky's entire school system, there is only one openly transgender girl we know playing on a school sports team. That student started her school's field hockey team, recruited all of the other team members, and just wants the opportunity to play with her friends her eighth-grade year."
Twelve states have enacted similar legislation.
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