The governors of the US states of Kansas and North Dakota have vetoed bills that would prohibit transgender girls from playing sports with other girls at school. A Republican campaign is underway in several conservative states in the US to curtail the rights of transgender people.
Similar bans are already in place in the states of Arkansas and Mississippi. Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, recently signed a decree banning trans girls from playing sports.
Laura Kelly, the Democratic governor of Kansas, announced on Thursday evening that she is blocking the Republican bill. Kelly follows her Republican counterpart in North Dakota Doug Burgum. He vetoed the same proposal on Wednesday.
“This legislation sends a devastating signal that Kansas is not kind to all children and their families, including those who are transgender,” Governor Kelly said in a statement. According to her, the state would do better to involve all students than to “exclude those who may be different from us.”
Kelly also cited the risk that corporations could boycott Kansas if the Republican bill passed as the reason for her veto. Burgum stated that there are laws in his state that ensure that the sport remains fair, and that it has not yet occurred in his state that a transgender girl wants to participate in the girls’ sport.
The Kansas governor’s veto is likely to hold up, as there were not enough votes in that state’s assembly of parliament for the bill to overrule a veto. In North Dakota, there were enough votes in the lower house for that, but not in the state Senate..
Republicans have introduced bills in several states to ban transgender girls from exercising with other girls, sometimes with the support of female athletes. Proponents of these bills say they want to use it to protect fair competition in women’s sports. However, few trans women participate in women’s sports.
Civil rights organizations have already announced that they will challenge Republican bills if they pass. According to them, they violate the US Constitution.