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Ohio bans gender transitions for minors, restricts transgender athletes with veto override

The Ohio Senate picked up where the House left off by overriding Gov. Mike DeWine’s veto of a hot-button transgender bill, implementing a state ban on gender-transition procedures for minors and outlawing transgender athletes’ participation scholastic sports.

The Senate Republican supermajority voted 24-8 to overturn Wednesday the Republican DeWine’s Dec. 29 veto of House Bill 68, completing the two-stage process begun by the House when it approved the override in a Jan. 10 vote.

Those attending the Senate session included detransitioner Chloe Cole, who had her breasts removed at age 15 as part of the gender-transition process, only to revert to her birth gender at age 17. She has sued her doctors for malpractice.

“Today Ohio overrode the governor’s Veto and has successfully secured the rights of children and protected women’s sports. The energy in the chamber is incredible,” Ms. Cole said on X. “Child gender mutilation and gender ideology as a whole will end with a whimper.”

The vote means that HB 68 will take effect in 90 days, or April 23, making Ohio the 22nd state to restrict medicalized gender-transition treatment for minors and the 24th state to ban transgender athletes from participating in girls and women’s scholastic sports based on gender identity.

Senate Republicans needed a three-fifths majority, or 20 votes, to secure the override, a hurdle they cleared easily despite strenuous objections from Democrats.

“This legislation isn’t about protecting children and youth. It’s about providing a legal way to restrict the rights of transgender and gender nonconforming kids,” said Democratic state Sen. Kent Smith during the floor debate.

The session was not without drama. A transgender protester shouted at legislators and sang “Jesus loves the little children” before being ushered out of the chamber by security.

Foes of the legislation blasted the override and predicted the measure would be challenged in court. At least eight red states have been sued over similar laws barring so-called gender-affirming care.

“This is a shameful legislative act. We will do everything we can to fight this,” said the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

The Human Rights Campaign declared: “These politicians think they know trans youth better than their parents and doctors.”

On the other side, Terry Schilling, president of the conservative American Principles Project, cheered the Legislature for “acting to protect the children and families in their state from the awful consequences of gender ideology.”

Mr. DeWine sought to meet his fellow Republicans halfway by signing an executive order after the veto banning gender-transition surgeries for those under 18, but critics noted that the order still gave minors access to puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

The governor reiterated his concerns before Wednesday’s vote about usurping the rights of parents to direct their children’s medical care shortly, but said he did not plan to challenge the override.

“The Legislature has the constitutional right to override anything, any bill that I sign, or any or any bill that I veto,” said Mr. DeWine, according to the Ohio Capital Journal. “That’s part of our system. And I respect our system. It doesn’t mean I like the vote, but I respect our system.”

No House or Senate Democrat voted to override the governor’s veto. One Senate Republican, Nathan Manning, joined Democrats Wednesday in opposing the veto.

The bill includes an exemption clause allowing minors who have already begun taking gender-transition drugs to continue using them.

Advocates for single-sex female sports also applauded the override, saying it would ensure a level playing field for girls and women in scholastic sports.

“These critical protections ensure that fair athletic competition is preserved,” said Christiana Kiefer, Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel. “Women and girls must be able to compete in confidence, free of facing unfair biological advantages.”

-Washington Times

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