Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed a bill that would have barred transgender girls and women athletes from competing at sporting events for biological females at public institutions.
The bill was passed in the state Senate with a vote of 29 to 6, and in the House with a vote of 78 to 9.
Edwards released a statement Tuesday claiming that the bill was seeking to solve a problem that didn’t exist.
“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue,” read the statement.
He went on to claim that the bill would have worsened mental health for children in the state.
“We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens. And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state,” he added.
Edwards’ veto was praised by LGBTQ groups like the Human Rights Campaign.
“The governor did the right thing for Louisiana and transgender Louisianans by vetoing this cruel and discriminatory legislation,” said the group in a tweet.
The bill passed in the legislature with such margins that the legislators could overturn the governor’s veto.
Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell of Franklinton, who sponsored the legislation, said that she hoped her colleagues would convene in a veto override session to pass the bill despite the governor’s denial. Such override sessions are exceedingly rare in Louisiana’s history.
Here’s more about the transgender bill in Louisiana:
Louisiana governor vetoes transgender sports bill