Republican Ohio governor Mike DeWine has broke from his party by vetoing a bill banning trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care and playing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.
Lawmakers passed House Bill 68 on 13 December. The bill would prohibit trans and non-binary minors from gender-affirming treatment, including hormone therapies, and ban trans athletes’ participation in girls’ and women’s sports.
On Friday (29 December), DeWine vetoed the measure, saying he had listened to people on both sides of the legislation who all “sincerely and truly believe their position best protects children”.
“Ultimately, these tough, tough decisions should not be made by the government. They should not be made by the state of Ohio,” DeWine said, as reported by ABC News.
“They should be made by the people who love these kids the most, and that’s the parents. The parents who have raised that child, the parents who have seen that child go through agony, the parents who worry about that child every single day of their life.”
DeWine also announced plans to move to ban surgeries until a person is 18, and to position the state to better regulate gender-affirming treatments for everyone.
Despite his veto the bill could still be passed, with Republicans on Friday signalling immediately that they’re considering a veto override.
Republican Bernie Moreno, a Trump-endorsed candidate for US Senate, and Center for Christian Virtue President Aaron Baer both called on the Legislature to override DeWine’s veto, while conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom called his veto a betrayal.
Alicia and Aaron Burkle, parents from Cleveland to Astrid, a 10-year-old transgender girl, had considered leaving Ohio should the bill be passed.
Aaron said of the veto: “We’re breathing a sigh of relief today, but there’s already been a lot of damage done to our community, to families like ours. And we know that this issue is not yet completely resolved.”