FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 5, 2023
CONTACT: Esmie Tseng, Communications Director, [email protected]
Topeka, Kan. – In a devastating blow to student athletics and basic fairness, the Kansas Legislature overrode Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a ban on transgender girls from participating in sports. Both houses of the Kansas Legislature narrowly garnered the votes needed to override the veto Wednesday.
“We want transgender youth to know they are not alone, and we will continue to vehemently support their right to be their true selves in every aspect of their lives,” said Micah Kubic, Executive Director of the ACLU of Kansas. “The lawmakers who chose to take up space this session with extremist and dangerous political postures must reconcile their actions with what it costs the people—and children—of Kansas.”
This year’s legislative effort to attack trans student-athletes in Kansas was the state’s third consecutive one of its kind and mimics others around the country. It was one of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills pushed in state legislatures in 2023.
“The sports ban has never sincerely been about protecting women’s sports,” said Kubic. “Rather, it arises out of the same gender discrimination, stereotyping, and paternalism that has held back progress for cisgender women athletes for centuries, and will now open up all girls and women to potentially invasive examinations just to be able to participate.”
Last night, the Kansas legislature also passed SB 180, one of the most extreme restrictions on transgender people’s ability to enter public spaces. It will now go to the governor’s desk. The ACLU of Kansas is calling on the governor to continue to stand for the values that Kansans share, by vetoing SB 180.
“If their goal was sincerely to protect Kansas children and preserve rights and fairness, the legislature wouldn’t have passed these discriminatory laws proven to harm Kansas kids—but we know their real goal is to erase trans people from public life and push us back into the closet,” said D.C. Hiegert, LGBTQ+ Legal Fellow for the ACLU of Kansas. “But the people of Kansas have made it clear that we want our state to be a welcoming one, where Kansans are free to live their lives how they choose. We have faith that there will be accountability for the legislators who have opted to codify their hate and intolerance for our neighbors and communities into law.”
“The legislative extremists who brought us these measures may have succeeded in writing discrimination into state law for now, but Kansans who care about fairness, justice, and equality are not done fighting for those values,” said Kubic. “We will be back year after year, for as long as it takes, to ensure our state’s laws embody those values, rather than the harassment, discrimination, and bigotry of these bills.”
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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.