by Mary Margaret Olohan
The governor of Kansas has vetoed a bill that would have banned biological males from participating in women’s sports.
Democratic Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed the “The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” Thursday, saying in a news release that the legislation “sends a devastating message that Kansas is not welcoming to all children and their families, including those who are transgender — who are already at a higher risk of bullying, discrimination, and suicide,” according to local outlet KMBC.
“As Kansans, we should be focused on how to include all students in extracurricular activities rather than how to exclude those who may be different than us,” Kelly said. “Kansas is an inclusive state and our laws should reflect our values. This law does not do that.”
Today I vetoed the divisive transgender sports bill so we can keep our state welcoming to all Kansans and keep our state open for business. See my full statement below: pic.twitter.com/fO6EkBXN0n
— Governor Laura Kelly (@GovLauraKelly) April 22, 2021
If Republicans wish to override Kelly’s veto, they will need 11 additional votes in the House and one additional vote in the Senate, according to the Kansas City Star.
“Governor Kelly has sided today with the NCAA, who can’t even ensure girls have decent locker rooms, and the radical Left, who are working to erase women,” Family Policy Alliance’s Director of Advocacy Brittany Jones said in a statement calling on lawmakers to override the veto. “Why would a family choose to move to Kansas if they knew their daughter’s opportunities were going to be stolen by a biological boy, no matter how hard that girl tried? If the Governor won’t stand up in this simple way, when will she stand up for girls?”
At least 31 states, including Kansas, have taken action to ban biological males from participating in female sports.
Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have introduced legislation aimed at banning biological males from female sports, according to data compiled by the American Principles Project.
South Dakota’s bill was thrust into the national spotlight when Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem refused to sign the legislation without her suggested changes. The governor has steadily insisted the bill would subject South Dakota to lawsuits the state could not win and said she seeks to “protect girls” through other measures.
Noem continues to push back on assertions that she caved to pressure from groups like the NCAA, emphasizing that she wants long-term solutions that will protect South Dakota girls.
The NCAA announced last week that it would withdraw competitions from states that pass legislation preventing biological males from participating in women’s sports.
“This commitment is grounded in our values of inclusion and fair competition,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Our clear expectation as the Association’s top governing body is that all student-athletes will be treated with dignity and respect.”
Governor Kelly did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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Mary Margaret Olohan is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Laura Kelly” by Chris Mullins CC 4.0.