Protestors arrested as legislature overrides veto to ban gender-affirming care

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected].

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The Senate and House quickly took up the override of the veto of Senate Bill 150 on its first day back after the 10-day veto period. 

Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed SB 150 — the bill to ban gender-affirming care — last Friday. 

The bill bans puberty blockers, gender-affirming surgery or hormones. It would also prohibit schools from teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms and force transgender students to use the bathroom that aligns with their biological sex. 

“I believe Senate Bill 150 tears away the freedom of parents to make important and difficult medical decisions for their kids,” Beshear said last week.

Hundreds of LGBTQ protestors gathered to oppose the legislature’s override starting early in the foggy Frankfort morning. 

Kenton County Resident Alex Berling said she made the trip down despite the likelihood that Republican supermajorities in both chambers would override Beshear’s veto. 

“They have a very right wing majority and will probably override, but I think it’s important to show our legislators that we are the majority in Kentucky that does not stand for Senate Bill 150,” Berling said. 

Protestors in favor of the bill gathered in the capitol rotunda just before noon, where David Walls, the executive director of the Kentucky Family Foundation — a Christian organization that lobbies the legislature to follow “biblical values” — emceed the rally.

Walls said that he, along with the roughly 30 legislators standing with him in the rotunda, was there to stand united in support of Senate Bill 150. 

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“A common-sense, broadly supported law that will protect children from harm and will empower parents to have a say in guiding and directing their children in our schools,” Walls said. 

As the Senate moved to pass the bill, Sen. Karen Berg (D-Louisville) read the letter her trans son Henry wrote just before he committed suicide. 

“What are you doing here today,” Berg said. “Why are we here? To say this is a bill protecting children is completely disingenuous.”

Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ryland Heights) voted in favor of the bill and said that this legislation ensures rights for parents trying to raise their children on a path of “conventional sexuality.” 

“It is about allowing medical practitioners to make real world decisions for kids with anomalous conditions,” McDaniel said. 

The legislation, however, has a punitive element for doctors with the potential to lose their licenses.  

During committee hearings, Chris Bolling, a retired Northern Kentucky pediatrician, said the bill would make it nearly impossible for pediatricians to provide gender-affirming care in the Commonwealth because legislation would be punitive for doctors with the potential to lose their license. 

“It labels medical treatment, that is the standard of care for patients with gender dysphoria, as unprofessional and unethical,” Bolling said. “It mandates the revocation of the license of any provider who provides or refers to the care and criminalizes not reporting to minors who are referring to this care.”

The bill passed the Senate 29-6 before heading to the House. 

Protestors in the House gallery started chatting, locked arms, and wouldn’t stop until the Kentucky State Police arrested and removed them from the gallery. 

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Rep. Rachel Roberts (D-Newport) who spoke during the morning protests, said she stood with the protestors. 

“For those watching at home, what you’re watching right now is democracy” Roberts said on the floor. “Yes, these people might be breaking a House rule to not speak in the gallery, but we broke our own rules by limiting debate on what is the quintessential issue this session.” 

The House overrode Gov. Beshear’s veto 76-23. Three NKY Reps. Kim Banta (R-Ft. Mitchell), Kim Moser (R-Taylor Mill), and Stephanie Dietz (R-Edgewood) voted no against the override — their votes went against party lines.

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