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DeWine vetoes single-sport, transgender minor care bill

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(The Center Square) – Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday vetoed a GOP-backed bill that would have created single-sex athletic teams and banned gender-affirming care for minors.

DeWine said at a news conference those decisions are best left to parents rather than the government and expressed concern for the state’s LGBTQ+ community.

“Were I to sign House Bill 68 or were it to become law, Ohio would be saying the state, that the government knows medically best for the child than the two people who love that child the most, the parents,” DeWine said at a Friday morning news conference.

DeWine said he spent the past 10 days discussing the bill with parents and hospitals around the state.

“While the child’s care team informs their decisions, it is the parents who are living with that child who know their child better than anyone in the world does. I cannot sign this bill as currently written,” DeWine said.

House Speaker Jason Stephens said House Bill 68 passed with a veto-proof majority and expects discussions on the Legislature’s next steps to come soon.

“It is disappointing that the Governor vetoed House Bill 68, the SAFE Act and Save Women’s Sports,” Stephens said. “The bill sponsors and The House have dedicated nearly three years to get the bill right — to empower parents and protect children. It was passed by veto-proof majorities in each chamber. We will certainly discuss as a caucus and take the appropriate next steps.”

Democrats called the veto much-needed support for LGBTQ+ children and the community overall and parental rights.

“I appreciate that Governor DeWine took his time to listen to the individuals most impacted by this discriminatory legislation and to understand the fact-based science on this issue. It sends a much-needed message of support to Ohio’s LGBTQ+ youth that they and their families are seen and heard and deserve the fundamental freedom like everyone else to feel safe in their own communities and to maintain their rights as parents to make medical decisions that are best for their children,” House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, said.

As previously reported by The Center Square, the bill would require K-12 schools, state colleges and universities and private colleges and universities to have separate single-sex teams for each sex. It also creates legal remedies for violations.

It would also prohibit gender-affirming care, such as hormone blockers, hormone replacement therapy and surgery for transgender youth.

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