Transgender student athletes in Louisiana can rest assured that they won’t be kicked off their teams—at least for now. On Wednesday, the Louisiana House was unable whip enough votes to override Democratic Governor John Bel Edward’s veto of a bill that would ban transgender athletes from school sports teams.
According to the Associated Press, the House fell short by just two votes, since Republicans failed to persuade enough Democrats to align with them.
This marks a defeat for Republican lawmakers and a victory for trans activists and everyone else with a modicum of compassion. But Edward was motivated by money as well as morals: The governor was concerned that Louisiana would “lose major sporting events or conventions for a problem that did not exist,” the AP reports.
More from the AP:
“The last thing you want to do is to lose those major events in exchange for a bill that doesn’t change anything on the ground in Louisiana. It just isn’t happening,” the governor said.
Edwards, the Deep South’s only Democratic governor, said the legislation will make life more difficult for vulnerable children with higher rates of suicide, and he noted that bill backers could not point to a single example of a Louisiana-specific problem.
Backers of the law referred to the bill as the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” arguing that it would mitigate what they describe as an unfair physical advantage that transgender girls have when competing against cis-gender girls. This largely unfounded sentiment has helped state legislatures in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee successfully pass such legislation, while similar bills have been introduced in over a dozen other states.
Of course, none of these politicians actually give a shit about the legitimacy of women’s sports. This is just a way for the right to codify their trans panic into law, which they aim to achieve by portraying trans women and girls as predators.
Louisiana has narrowly dodged this hateful legislation, but trans kids in sports is one of the right’s new favorite culture wars. The only question now is: Which state will be next?