Republican Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a measure Friday that would have banned transgender athletes’ participation in girls and women’s sports and gender-affirming care for minors, in a break from members of his party who championed the legislation.
GOP lawmakers hold enough seats to override DeWine’s veto, but if or when they would do so was not immediately clear. Both within and between chambers, Republican legislators have not been in lockstep this year.
The bill would have required public K-12 schools and universities to designate separate teams for male and female sexes and explicitly banned transgender girls and women from participating in sports that align with their gender identity. Supporters argued that banning transgender athletes from girls’ and women’s sports maintains the integrity of those sports and ensures fairness.
At least 20 states have passed some version of a ban on transgender athletes playing on K-12 and collegiate sports teams. Those bans would be upended by a regulation proposed by President Joe Biden’s administration that is set to be finalized early next year.
The measure, which passed the Legislature earlier this month with only Republican support, also would have prohibited Ohio minors from taking puberty blockers and undergoing other hormone therapies or receiving gender reassignment surgery that would further align them with their gender identity. It would, however, have allowed any minor who is an Ohio resident to continue treatment they are currently receiving.