Republicans fail in desperate bid to force through transphobic sports ban in Louisiana

Louisiana lawmakers have defeated a Republican bid to override a veto and push through a vile transphobic sports ban.

After Democratic governor John Bel Edwards vetoed a bill banning trans youth from participating in school sports aligning with their gender identity, lawmakers announced the state’s first veto override session in modern history.

The override passed through the Senate after acquiring the exact number of votes (26) needed to move through the chamber. However, the session collapsed after Republicans failed to get the required number of votes in the House.

The House voted Wednesday (21 July) 68-30, according to the Associated Press. The override needed 70 votes to pass.

In a news briefing after the historic vote, Edwards said state lawmakers “rejected a play” that had no place in Louisiana. He added that the “mean” bill targeted the “most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana”.

“I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best,” Edwards told reporters.

“We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state.”

He added: “I mean, go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here.”

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, welcomed the failure of the “discriminatory” anti-trans sports ban.

He said in a statement that trans youth across Louisiana have been “saved from being targeted in a dangerous bill that denies them the fundamental right to be treated just like any other kid”.

“This legislation was, simply put, a dangerous waste of time and Louisianans deserve a legislature that spends more time and energy on the issues that are actually plaguing the state and need addressing,” David added.

Children holding placards supporting trans children during a demonstration outside of the Ohio Statehouse. (Photo by Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Religious leaders had united against the transphobic bill

A group of 90 Louisiana religious leaders penned an open letter Wednesday (21 July) – before the veto was overturned – opposing the transphobic legislation. The clergy represents dozens of faiths and communities, showing just how much Louisianans support trans rights.

The letter reads: “Our sacred texts teach us how we should behave toward one another – that we must love one another as we love ourselves, that we must protect the vulnerable in our society, that we must recognise God’s image in everyone.”

The clergy argued that the Bible had “special words” condemning “impulses towards cruelty”, much like the anti-trans bill which they described as “full of cowardice and meanness and does nothing to make our shared society better”.

“It is cynical and frivolous, seeking to extract political advantage by playing upon people’s prejudice and fears,” the letter added, describing trans youth as “children of God” who “deserve our support and love and affirmation” as they grow into adults – “not our ridicule and scorn”.