The governors of the US states of Kansas and North Dakota have vetoed bills that would prevent transgender girls from playing sports at school with other girls. A Republican campaign to restrict transgender rights is now underway in several conservative states in the United States.
Similar bans have already been in place in Arkansas and Mississippi. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem recently signed an ordinance banning transgender girls from playing sports.
Laura Kelly, the Democratic governor of Kansas, announced Thursday night that she opposes the Republican bill. Kelly follows her North Dakota Republican counterpart Doug Burgum. He actually opposed the same proposal on Wednesday.
“This legislation sends a devastating message that Kansas is not kind to all children and their families, including transgender people,” Governor Kelly said in a statement. According to her, it would be better for the state to include all students than “to exclude those who may be different from us”.
Kelly also cited the risk of businesses boycotting Kansas if the Republican bill was passed as a reason for her veto. Burgum stated that there are laws in his state that ensure the sport remains fair, and that his state does not yet have a transgender girl willing to participate in girls’ sports.
The Kansas governor’s veto is likely to hold, since there weren’t enough votes in that state legislature for the bill to override the veto. In North Dakota, there were enough votes in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate.
Republicans have introduced bills in several states to ban transgender girls from playing sports with other girls, sometimes with the support of female athletes. Supporters of these laws say they want to protect fair competition in women’s sports. However, few transgender women participate in women’s sports
Civil rights groups have already announced that they will challenge Republican bills if they are passed. They say it goes against the US Constitution.
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