Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday vetoed a bill barring transgender athletes from competing in girls’ and women’s sports, saying the legislation would endanger the state’s business climate and send a “devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children.”
The measure, which was called “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” required “intercollegiate, intramural, or club athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by public educational institutions to be designated based on biological sex,” according to a summary of the bill.
It would prohibit athletic teams that are designated for women or girls from being open to students “of the male sex.”
Kelly also raised concerns about the economic impact of the bill. LGBTQ advocates have threatened to boycott states that approve Fairness in Women’s Sports bills, which have been signed by governors in four states over the last two legislative sessions.
“This bill would also undoubtedly harm our ability to attract and retain businesses,” Kelly said. “It would send a signal to prospective companies that Kansas is more focused on unnecessary and divisive legislation, than strategic, pro-growth lawmaking.”
Senate President Ty Masterson and state Sen. Renee Erickson, both Republicans, accused her of capitulating “to the mistruths and extreme rhetoric offered by the left.”
The bill’s proponents have characterized the pressure imposed by organizations like the NCAA as corporate bullying.
“The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act is as simple as it sounds — it ensures fairness,” Masterson and Erickson said in a statement. “It’s not about anything else other than that, and no state should allow itself to be intimidated by big corporations or the NCAA into pretending otherwise. We will continue to fight for fairness in women’s sports until this bill becomes law.”
Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom, said the legislation would have helped female athletes in Kansas “compete on a level playing field” and urging legislators to override the veto.
“We’ve seen increasing examples of males dominating girls’ athletic competitions when competing as females, capturing championships, and shattering long-standing female track records,” Ms. Holcomb said. “While we are disappointed by the governor’s veto, we are thankful to Kansas legislators for taking a strong stand for female athletes.”
Kansas is one of 31 states where legislation barring transgender youth from playing in girl’s and women’s sports has been proposed.
Senate Bill 55, was passed earlier this month in the state legislature by votes of 26-11 in the Senate and 76-43 in the House. Both votes were shy of the two-thirds majorities — 84 in the House, 27 in the Senate — needed to override a gubernatorial veto.
In order to override Kelly’s veto, Republicans in the Kansas legislature will need eleven additional “yes” votes for the transgender ban in the House and one in the Senate.
Donna Lippoldt, founder of Culture Shield Network, said “It’s only reasonable for Kansas to pass a law to protect women’s sports. It’s unfair to young girls and young women who have trained so hard their entire lives for them to be defeated by men who are naturally stronger.”
Lippoldt urged citizens to contact the Representatives and Senators who either abstained or voted no on the transgender ban.
“We recommend that you send a postcard or a letter,” she said, “since they are out of the capitol until May 3rd.”
Office and home information on each legislator, as well as how they voted on the transgender ban, can be found at these links by clicking on the name of the legislator:
REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVES NOT VOTING OR VOTING NO:
Representative Dave Baker
Phone: 785 296-6997
PO Box 252, Council Grove, KS 66846
Representative Jesse Borjon
Phone: 785 296-7374
5326 SW 40th Terr., Topeka, KS 66610
Phone: 785 249-9438
Representative Susan Concannon
Phone: 785 296-7644
921 N. Mill Street, Beloit, KS 67420
Phone: 785 738-8087
Representative Bradley Ralph
Phone: 785 296-7501
2103 6th Ave., Dodge City, KS 67801
Representative John Barker
Phone: 785 296-7674
103 Wassinger Ave., Abilene, KS 67410
Phone: 785 479-7519
Representative Mark Schreiber
Phone: 785 296-2721
1722 Yucca Lane, Emporia, KS 66801
Representative Kent Thompson
P.O. Box 626, Iola, KS 66749
Fax: 620 365-3297
REPUBLICAN SENATORS NOT VOTING OR VOTING NO:
Senator Carolyn McGinn
PO Box A, Sedgwick, KS 67135
Senator Brenda Dietrich
6110 SW 38th Terr., Topeka, KS 66610
Senator John Doll
2927 Cliff Place, Garden City, KS 67846
–Lee Hartman | Metro Voice News