Kentucky legislators on Wednesday passed a sweeping bill outlawing sex change procedures for minors and transgender-related initiatives in schools, overriding Democratic governor Andy Beshear's veto.
Passed along party lines in the legislature, where Republicans have supermajorities in both houses, Kentucky's law prohibits sex change surgeries and hormone treatments for minors and mandates that students use bathrooms that match their biological sex. The law also allows teachers to decline to use students' preferred pronouns and prohibits lessons on gender ideology and sexual orientation in the classroom. Beshear vetoed the bill last Friday, saying he believes "Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky."
Despite pushback from Democrats and trans activists, Kentucky joins the 11 other states that have outlawed sex change procedures for minors. On the same day as the Kentucky legislature's override, West Virginia Republican governor Jim Justice signed into law a similar ban on child sex change treatments in his state.
"SB 150 protects our youth from irreversible procedures," said Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron (R.) in a statement. "Beshear vetoed this bill because he is beholden to the far left. Today, his veto was overridden. I stand ready to defend this law and protect the well-being of our most precious resource, our children."
Hundreds of protesters descended on the Kentucky Capitol as lawmakers gathered to vote. The protesters' disruptive shouting and chanting in the House gallery prompted state police to respond, arresting and charging 19 people with third-degree criminal trespassing, Fox News reported. Officers gave each person "the option to leave without any enforcement action or be placed under arrest," said police spokesman Capt. Paul Blanton.
"I think it's unfortunate that it reached that level and certainly [the protesters] were given, as I've been told since then, multiple opportunities to either quiet their chants or to leave voluntarily," Republican House speaker David Osborne said.
"The goal of SB 150 is to strengthen parental engagement and communication in their children's education," state senator Mike Wise (R.), the bill's sponsor, said last week. "This bill … reinforces a positive atmosphere in the classroom and removes unnecessary distractions, like woke ideology and mandating use of specific pronouns in our schools. … I look forward to … protecting children from the irreparable harm of gender transition surgeries by making SB 150 law."