Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has vowed to veto any legislation that crosses his desk that seeks to ban transgender medical treatments for minors or limit athletic participation to biological gender.
A number of such bills have cropped up across the country this legislative term, with Louisiana’s neighbor Arkansas passing both such measures earlier this year.
Last week, Edwards announced his plans to thwart any such legislation, which he would consider to be “unnecessary and discriminatory.”
While bills have been introduced in the Louisiana state legislature to restrict transgender treatments and ban biological males from participating in women and girls’ sports, Edwards says he hopes they will not advance, according to the Associated Press.
“I am really concerned about emotionally fragile people and the idea that the weight of the state would be put behind something that to me is unnecessary and discriminatory and very hurtful for those individuals when there’s not a compelling reason to do it,” Governor Edwards said, adding that he believes such proposals would have an “adverse impact to the state.”
For example, the AP notes that officials worry the state might lose the 2022 NCAA Final Four Championship, which is scheduled to take place in New Orleans.
The NCAA has made clear that any state passing legislation it deems discriminatory for transgender athletes could face such retaliation from the league as they’re committed to choosing locations “where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination.”
When South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristy Noem went from enthusiastically supporting a bill in her state which would have barred biological male athletes from participating in female sports after expressing excitement to sign it, some accused her of caving to NCAA pressure.
Noem adamantly denied this claim, telling Fox News host Tucker Carlson when he made the suggestion while speaking with her on his program that she had simply wanted the language of the bill changed and would not allow the NCAA to take “punitive action” against her state.
An Arkansas bill prohibiting gender identity-affirming medical treatments for minors under the age of 18 was approved by both chambers of the state legislature yet vetoed by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson despite having enough votes to override the veto.
The legislation was passed, with many conservatives including Carlson, who also pressed Hutchinson on his program, wondering if the Arkansas governor, who said the state should not have the power to interfere in such personal medical decisions, had also caved to corporate pressure.
Hutchinson signed the ban on biological males participating in female-only athletic programs.
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