Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes transgender athlete bill

Gov. Laura Kelly vetoes transgender athlete bill
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 1:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) - Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a bill on Thursday that would ban transgender athletes from playing on school sports teams for girls and women. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, passed by the Kansas legislature earlier this month, requires K-12 female athletic teams in the state to only include females biological at birth.

On Thursday, Gov. Kelly said the legislation sends a “devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children and their families, including those who are transgender - who are already at a higher risk of bullying, discrimination, and suicide,”

“As Kansans, we should be focused on how to include all students in extracurricular activities rather than how to exclude those who may be different than us. Kansas is an inclusive state and our laws should reflect our values. This law does not do that,” said the governor. “This bill would also undoubtedly harm our ability to attract and retain businesses. It would send a signal to prospective companies that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation than strategic, pro-growth lawmaking.”

Opponents of the bill said it could prevent Kansas from future NCAA tournament rounds which have been hosted in both Kansas City and Wichita.

Following the bill’s passage, the NCAA issued a release stating that when it comes to tournaments, its policy “directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.”

Kansas Senate President Ty Masterson and Senator Renee Erickson, both Republicans, also issued a response to the governor’s veto.

“It’s not surprising but nonetheless disappointing that Governor Kelly opted to veto the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act and capitulate to the mistruths and extreme rhetoric offered by the left. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is as simple as it sounds – it ensures fairness. It’s not about anything else other than that, and no state should allow itself to be intimidated by big corporations or the NCAA into pretending otherwise. We will continue to fight for fairness in women’s sports until this bill becomes law.”

Other states that have vetoed transgender athlete bills include North Dakota and South Dakota.

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