ACLU of Kansas Condemns Legislature’s Veto Override on Extreme Anti-Trans Bathroom and Facilities Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2023
Contact: Esmie Tseng, Communications Director, [email protected]
TOPEKA, Kan. – In yet another blatant attack on transgender rights in Kansas that will have rippling effects for civil rights, the House finished an override of the governor's veto on SB 180, an extremely broad bill barring access to public facilities based on simplistic definitions of physical reproductive traits at birth.
"At its core, SB 180 attempts to remove trans peoples’ ability to live a public life—by trying to codify into law a right to exclude trans people from athletics, restrooms, locker rooms, domestic violence shelters and other necessary spaces," said Micah Kubic, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas. "It could also place federal funding at risk for numerous agencies that serve the women and other people of Kansas that legislators claim to have wanted to protect. The frenzy of attacks on transgender people this session by extremist Kansas lawmakers are truly stunning in their cruelty -- and also do not align with the views of the majority of Kansans."
The new law will apply to women’s restrooms, locker rooms, and other spaces in athletic facilities, prisons, domestic violence shelters, and more.
"Our community remains resolute in our fight for everyone's right to live authentically and joyfully and in our vision for an inclusive, kind, and welcoming Kansas," said DC Hiegert, LGBTQ+ Fellow of the ACLU of Kansas. "And we're not going anywhere."
Initially, the House did not have the votes to override Governor Kelly’s veto on SB 180. All eyes were on Rep. Jesse Borjon of Topeka, who reversed his initial vote after Thursday morning’s House debate to become the deciding vote that enabled the override. Borjon had previously given his constituents multiple public assurances that he would not support the bill.
The situation was an echo of the ban of transgender girls and women participating in sports earlier this month, when Rep. Marvin Robinson of Kansas City, Kansas became a deciding factor in overriding the governor’s veto. It was just one of many other actions the freshman Democrat took attacking civil rights, including voting rights and reproductive freedom, to widespread dismay. Robinson supported overriding Gov. Kelly's veto on SB 180 as well.
Had Representatives Borjon and Robinson voted differently, neither of these bills would have become law.
"Although we are dismayed that any elected official would support this blatantly discriminatory and harmful bill, we are especially disappointed that Reps. Borjon and Robinson abandoned their commitments to equality and justice," said Kubic. “These elected officials could have made the difference in defending Kansans' shared values, and they chose not to.”
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About the ACLU of Kansas: The ACLU of Kansas is the statewide affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Kansas is dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. For more information, visit our website at www.aclukansas.org.