News (USA)

Louisiana governor blocks three anti-LGBTQ+ bills targeting young people

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Photo: Batch1928 44/via Wikipedia

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) has vetoed three anti-LGBTQ+ laws passed by the state’s Republican-led legislature, including a ban on gender-affirming care for young trans people and a “Don’t Say Gay” education bill.

But as Huff Post reports, Republicans in both state house chambers have said they will try to override the governor’s vetoes in a special session later this month.

Early last month, Edwards vowed to veto the three bills, likening Republican attempts to limit LGBTQ+ rights with opposition to the Civil Rights Movement.

All three Louisiana bills target queer youth. Like Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, H.B. 466 would ban discussions of sexual orientation, gender identity, or “pronouns” in schools. H.B. 81 would require school employees to use the pronouns and names that match the gender marker on a student’s birth certificate unless a parent requests otherwise. The law also includes a religious exemption allowing teachers to misgender students even if their parents support their gender identity. H.B. 648 would ban doctors and nurses from providing safe and medically necessary gender-affirming care like puberty blockers and hormone therapy to transgender youth.

“Some of these bills affect three dozen people in our entire state,” Edwards said at a press conference last month. “All of a sudden, these are things we just have to do? I reject that.”

Last week, Edwards, who is term-limited and cannot seek reelection, made good on his promise to veto the bills.

“It is unfathomable to think that in my last few months serving as governor of this state that I would sign into law a bill that categorically denies health care for children and families based on propaganda and misinformation generated by national interest groups,” Edwards wrote of H.B. 648 in a June 29 letter announcing his veto. “I assessed the need for this bill based on Louisiana data and facts and read every word of this bill multiple times to determine if there was any possible merit to this bill. There is not.”

Louisiana Republicans hold a two-thirds majority in both state chambers and likely have the votes to override the governor’s vetoes if they return to the state capitol for a veto session later this month. All three bills passed with more than a two-thirds majority during the regular session.

While multiple Louisiana Republican lawmakers have said they anticipate returning to the Capitol for a veto session, state Rep. Tanner D. Magee (R), the second-ranking Republican in the Louisiana House of Representatives, told CNN last week that it remained unclear whether the special session would occur.

“We are still talking to members and assessing their desires,” Magee said.

Louisiana Rep. Gabe Firment (R), who sponsored H.B. 648, told CNN last week that he was concerned that “term-limited state senators will be persuaded by the governor to not show up for a veto override session.” But, he added, “grassroots groups and citizens across the state are already mobilizing in anticipation of a gubernatorial veto.”

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