The bill passed both the state House and Senate last week in a record sprint, mainly along party lines. The Senate voted 30–7 for the measure, a veto-proof majority, and so could override Beshear’s move as soon as next week.
If it becomes law, Senate Bill 150 would 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.
“Senate Bill 150 allows too much government interference in personal health care issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children,” Beshear said in a statement.
“I am also vetoing Senate Bill 150 because my faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky,” he continued, citing studies that showed a connection between receiving gender-affirming care and lowered levels of depression and suicidal thoughts in LGBTQ children. “Senate Bill 150 will cause an increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth.”
The ACLU of Kentucky described the bill when it passed as “the worst anti-trans bill in the country.”
“This dangerous bill and others like it across the country are nothing more than a desperate attempt to score political points by targeting people who simply want to live their lives,” interim executive director Amber Duke said in a statement. “True democracy requires meaningful and informed debate and engagement from the public. The shameful process on display in the Kentucky House undermines the public trust in government.”
The bill was rushed 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 just the latest state to have lawmakers try to curtail LGBTQ rights. This week alone, Florida advanced an anti-trans bill so broad and extreme it could also prevent people from getting breast cancer treatment. Georgia, meanwhile, passed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors and criminalizing medical workers who provide that care.