Louisiana has turn out to be the newest state to ban transgender girls from participating in sports in public schools after the state’s Democratic governor declined to veto it, arguing that such an attempt could be futile against the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.
“I’ve allowed that bill to turn out to be law without my signature, not because I believed the bill was good,” Edwards said at a press conference Monday. “I hope we will all get to some extent soon where we realize that these young persons are doing the absolute best that they will to survive. I just think that we may be higher than that bill.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said he didn’t imagine he could successfully veto a ban on transgender athlete in public schools that is supported by his state’s Republican-controlled legislature.
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In Louisiana, any bill passed by the state’s legislature becomes law if the governor doesn’t take motion on it throughout the constitutionally prescribed time period.
The bill had greater than two-thirds majority support in each chambers of the state legislature, which could be enough for a veto override. But that’s assuming lawmakers don’t change their initial vote during an override attempt, which happens. Edwards was narrowly capable of veto last 12 months’s bill because a number of members of the House modified their initial votes of support for the bill, The Advocate reported.
The laws adds Louisiana to a list of 18 other states which have passed similar laws over supposed concerns that transgender athletes could have an unfair physical advantage.
Edwards called that fear made-up and purposefully harmful to members of the LGBTQ community.
Edwards said lawmakers’ ban on transgender female athletes in public schools is designed to harm members of the LGBTQ community.
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“Within the 12 months since that bill was first placed on my desk, there still hasn’t been a single instance in Louisiana of a trans girl participating in sports,” Edwards countered while addressing the media Monday.
He said the bill is designed to “send a powerful message to no less than a few of these young people who they shouldn’t be who they think they’re, who they imagine they’re, who they know they’re. And I find that very distressing. I do imagine that we may be higher than that. And we shouldn’t pretend that there’s unfairness when there’s not. It’s not happening in Louisiana.”
Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell, who sponsored the laws each years, expressed joy on the bill’s passage, posting on Facebook: “Hallelujah!”
“I’m really pleased that we finally got it over the finish line,” she told The Advocate.
The Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project, two organizations that support LGBTQ rights, condemned Edwards’ inaction in statements Tuesday.
“Governor Edwards’ decision betrays his LGBTQ+ constituents and fails the transgender youth who were counting on his leadership,” HRC state legislative director and senior counsel Cathryn Oakley said in a press release. “The unconventional politicians that engineered this bill are targeting kids who just wish to play sports for a similar reason all students do ― to learn the values of teamwork, to face healthy competition, and to rejoice. These children were failed by their leaders.”