The Louisiana state senate has voted along party lines to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ (D) veto of a bill that would ban transgender children from playing school sports. The law would “require that schools designate intercollegiate, interscholastic, or intramural athletic teams according to the biological sex of the team members.”
Both chambers of the state legislature are meeting for the first time since passage of the state constitution to discuss overriding the governor’s vetoes. The senate is not expected to overturn any of the governor’s other vetoes.
“Discrimination is not a Louisiana value,” Edwards said in a statement explaining his veto. “This bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue.”
“Further, it would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health. We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens. And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill.”
“Instead of supporting the students they were elected to protect, the Senate’s irrational and unfounded fears has the potential to harm the state’s economy,” Terry Landry, SPLC Action Fund Policy Director, said. “Whether cisgender or transgender, this override is a gut punch to those who simply want to live as their authentic selves. For some, this happens to include playing sports.”
The state house still has to vote on the veto and it is also dominated by Republicans. But while the GOP only needed a simple majority to call for a veto session, they would need Democrat or Independent support to reach the two-thirds needed to override a veto. If it does, it would only be the third time in the state’s history that a governor’s veto was overturned.
Legislatures across the state have debated trans students’ right to play sports and access appropriate medical care. The majority of bills focused on attacking the transgender community were written by a far right lobbying group designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.