FRANKFURT, Ky. (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Kentucky approved a measure Thursday to ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors, completing a lightning vote on a redrafted proposal that sparked outrage and tears among opponents unable to stop broad policymaking. on a culture war affair.
Supporters of the proposal, which affects how gender is discussed in schools, missed a Thursday deadline to retain their power to override an expected government veto.
Large Republican majorities in the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill, a day after a simplified version stalled in the Senate, apparently leaving the issue in limbo. A cascade of shouting arose from some opponents of the bill on the Senate floor after the measure won final approval.
The enemies of the bill denounced the accelerated maneuvers and the consequences of the expanded measure for trans youth. Overcome with emotion, a sobbing Rep. Josie Raymond said the children would be hurt. “I am ashamed, horrified and scared,” the Democrat said in opposing the bill in committee.
republicans endorsing the far-reaching interpretation, he cobbled together a separate bill that quickly passed committee and won House approval. He won Senate approval shortly thereafter, sending the bill to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who described it as government intrusion into family health decisions.
Introducing the revived bill in committee, Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade said: “Our job is to protect children, and that’s what we’re doing here.”
“Surgery or drugs that completely alter their life and alter their body is not something we should allow until they are adults,” Meade said later during the House debate.
The Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union was quick to warn that it “stands ready” to challenge the measure in court if it becomes law.
“Lawmakers cannot erase transgender people from existence, and we will continue to fight for equal rights and equal protection under the law,” said Amber Duke, the organization’s interim executive director.
The new bill designed to carry the broad trans-related provisions retained its original language, allowing teachers to refuse to refer to transgender students by their preferred pronouns and requiring schools to notify parents when classes will be taught. lessons related to human sexuality.
Multiple layers were added to it, including the proposed ban on gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth. It would ban gender reassignment surgery for anyone under the age of 18, as well as the use of puberty blockers and hormones, and hospital inpatient and outpatient gender-affirming services. I would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age.
The House approved the bill in a vote of 75-22. One after another, opponents stood up to denounce the bill while most supporters remained silent. Democratic Rep. Keturah Herron called the bill “an attack on a very, very, very small population of people.”
The debate was shorter but no less fierce in the Senate, which passed the bill 30-7.
“This is absolute, voluntary and intentional hate. Hate for a small group of people who are the weakest and most vulnerable among us,” said Democratic Sen. Karen Berg.
Supporters of the bill say they are trying to protect children from undergoing gender-affirming treatments they may later regret as adults.
“We’re talking about removing healthy body parts that can’t be put back,” said Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor in supporting the bill. I have seen the photos. It is awful.
Thursday was the last day Kentucky lawmakers were in session until the end of March, when they will meet again for the final two days of this year’s session. By missing Thursday’s deadline to send the bill to the governor, the vast majority of the GOP retained its ability to override a veto.
Beshear, who is seeking re-election this year, said such bills amount to “big government stepping in and imposing its will” on health care decisions that should be left up to families.
“I also believe that every child is a child of God, every one,” the governor said Thursday at his weekly news conference.
The expanded version stood in stark contrast to the narrower version that stalled in the Senate on Wednesday. That version eased restrictions on transgender youth, their families, and health care providers.
The issue has sparked an emotional debate among opponents of the bill who call it discriminatory and say it would hurt transgender youth. On Tuesday, a former Kentucky legislator She said her young grandson would be among those affected if lawmakers banned access to gender-affirming health care for those under 18.
“This bill condemns vulnerable children to an even more difficult life than they have already been born,” Jerry Miller, a Republican who previously served in the House, told lawmakers. “Please don’t let the right of parents to protect their children be collateral damage in the culture wars.”
Nationwide, state legislators are passing sweeping measures that restrict the rights of LGBTQ people this year, from bills targeting trans athletes and drag artists to those who limit gender affirmation care. In Mississippi, Republican Governor Tate Reeves recently signed a bill to ban gender-affirming hormones or surgery in the state for anyone under the age of 18. The Republican governors of South Dakota and Utah have signed bans on gender-affirming care this year.