Kentucky lawmakers pass ban on gender manipulation measures

Kentucky lawmakers pass ban on gender manipulation measures

Kentucky lawmakers pass ban on gender manipulation measures

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Republican lawmakers in Kentucky passed a measure Thursday to ban gender manipulation procedures, including surgeries, on young people confused about their sexuality.

Supporters of the proposal — which affects how gender is discussed in schools — beat a Thursday deadline to retain their power to override an expected gubernatorial veto.

GOP supermajorities in the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill, a day after a slimmed-down version had stalled in the Senate and seemingly left the issue in limbo. A cascade of shouting erupted from some bill opponents in the Senate gallery after the measure won final passage.

Republicans backing the far-reaching rendition cobbled together a separate bill that hastily cleared a committee and won House passage. It gained Senate passage a short time later, sending the bill to Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, who portrayed it as government intrusion in family health decisions.

Republican House Speaker Pro Tempore David Meade, in presenting the revived bill in committee, said: “Our job is to protect children, and that’s what we’re doing here."

“Surgery or drugs that completely alter their life, and alter their body, is not something we should be allowing until they are adults,” Meade said later during the House debate.

The new bill designated to carry the sweeping trans-related provisions retained its original language — allowing teachers to refuse to refer to students by their so-called preferred pronouns and requiring schools to notify parents when lessons related to human sexuality are going to be taught.

Multiple layers were added to it — including the proposed ban on gender manipulation procedures. It would outlaw gender reassignment surgery for anyone under 18, as well as the use of puberty blockers and hormones, and inpatient and outpatient gender manipulation hospital services. It would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age.

The bill’s supporters say they are trying to protect children from making treatment decisions that they might later regret as adults.

“We're talking about removing healthy body parts that you cannot put back on," Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor said in supporting the bill. “I've seen the pictures. It's horrifying.”