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Pressure against trans athletes in girls’ sports fails in Kansas

TOPEKA, Can. (AP) – Conservative Republicans in Kansas have failed to lift the Democratic governor’s veto on a proposed ban on transgender athletes in sports for girls and women unable to turn success in other states or Caitlin Jenner’s support into sufficient speed.

The state senate voted 26-14 to lift the veto of Governor Laura Kelly, leaving supporters with only one vote needed for a two-thirds majority. The senators’ decision blocked the vote in the House.

Kansas became the second state in two weeks, after North Dakota, where the legislature with republican super-majorities failed to lift the veto of the governor of the Republican Party on such a measure. Lawmakers in more than 20 states have considered similar bans and become laws in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia after Idaho passed it last year. Florida lawmakers recently approved such a measure and the governor of South Dakota imposed a policy with an executive order.

The vote in Kansas came two days after Jenner, a former Olympic decathlon and reality television champion who appeared as a transgender woman in 201

5, said she opposed transgender athletes in sports for girls and women as a ‘matter of justice’. The Kansas Conservatives took advantage of her comments to TMZ reporter in the argument that they are trying to defend fair competition and opportunities for women athletes.

“No one can accuse her of being anti-trance or interested in suicide, or any accusation from me,” Senate President Ty Masterson, a Republican from the Wichita area, told reporters.

Kelly called the proposed ban “regressive,” said he would send a message that Kansas was not a friendly place, and predicted it would hurt the state’s attempts to hire business. LGBTQ rights activists said it would increase harassment of already vulnerable children.

“We will not discriminate legally here,” said Stephanie Byers, a Democrat from Wichita and the state’s first transgender legislator. “It will be difficult to fight, but we will always do it.”

Many transgender rights activists have criticized Jenner, saying she failed to convince them that she was a major asset in their cause. Byers guessed that Jenner was trying to get attention for himself.

The proposed ban is likely to be a problem in the governor’s race in 2022, when Kelly seeks a second term. The two best Republican candidates, Attorney General Derek Schmid and former Gov. Jeff Collier, said they would sign the measure.

Kelly is running as a centrist in 2018 against polarizing conservative Chris Kobach, a former Kansas secretary of state known nationally for promoting restrictive immigration policies and strict voter identification laws. Republicans have already begun trying to portray Kelly as a liberal, and see her veto on the transgender athlete measure as evidence.

“It shows her true, far-left bias,” said Sen. Rennie Erickson, a Republican from Wichita who is a former college basketball player and a major sponsor of the bill. “I think if we deal with what it really is – defending these opportunities for girls – that these are values ​​in Kansas and that at the end of the day it will hurt the governor politically.”

Proponents of such proposals in the United States are usually unable to cite local examples of problems. The association that oversees extracurricular activities in Kansas K-12 schools says it has only been notified of five active transgender participants in extracurricular activities and there is no known case of a transgender athlete winning a championship in Kansas.

“After a long reputation as anti-LGBT, this country is making progress on LGBT rights and progress on transgender rights,” said Tom Witt, executive director of the LGBTQ Equality Kansas rights group, after tears of relief. vote.

The deciding factor may be the concern that sports organizations such as the NCAA will avoid planning tournament games in Kansas. Kansas City, Kansas, Sen. David Haley, the only Democrat to hesitate, quoted the issue to reporters, explaining he did not vote.

Hailey had previously abstained, but the Senate forced him to vote Monday. He struggles with his decision, throwing the arguments of both sides into an unusual six-minute speech.

“David Haley can’t win this discussion,” he told colleagues.


Follow John Hannah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apjdhanna

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