Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a massive bill Friday passed by the Republican-led state legislature last week that banned gender-affirming healthcare for minors, placed strict rules on how teachers can address transgender students and other restrictions related to sexuality.
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In his one-page summary for the veto of Senate Bill 150, the Democratic governor cited the high rates of suicide among transgender youth and the concerns from parents across the state for his opposition to the bill.
"My faith teaches me that all children are children of God and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky," Beshear wrote.
The bill was passed quickly on March 16 and bans gender reassignment surgery for anyone under 18, the use of puberty blockers and hormones, and inpatient and outpatient gender-affirming hospital services.
It also prohibits school teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity, and requires school districts to come up with a policy that prevents students from going to restrooms that aren't aligned with their gender identities.
School staff members are required to alert parents if lessons on human sexuality are taught, under the bill's provisions.
Beshear said the bill would turn teachers and school staff into "investigators that must listen in on student conversations and then knock on doors to confront and question parents and families about how students behave and/or refer to themselves or others."
The Kentucky GOP slammed Beshear over his move.
"Andy Beshear thinks it's okay for children to have access to life-altering sex change surgery and drugs before they turn 18," Sean Southard, a spokesman for the Kentucky GOP, said in a statement.
The governor, however, told reporters Friday that his office has received many messages from transgender youth and their parents who are scared about the bill's repercussions.
"I heard from children that believe this bill is picking on them, and asking...why?" Beshear said.
The Kentucky House passed the bill with veto-proof margins last week with a 75-22 vote while the Senate passed it with a 30-7 vote.
The Kentucky ACLU has indicated that it is looking into legal action if the bill gets passed.