The Republican governor of North Dakota vetoed a bill that would prohibit public school teachers and staff generally from referring to transgender students with pronouns other than those that reflect their birth-assigned gender.
The state Senate voted 37 to 9 Thursday afternoon to override the veto, just hours after Gov. Doug Burgum’s office announced its decision.
The House, which will meet on Friday, has yet to vote on the repeal, The Bismarck Tribune reported. The House of Representatives approved the bill in February by a vote of 60 to 32, three short of the two-thirds majority required to overturn the veto.
If the bill were enacted, public school teachers and employees would be prohibited from using a transgender student’s preferred pronoun unless they had permission from the student’s parents and a school administrator.
The bill would also ban government agencies from requiring employees to use a transgender colleague’s preferred pronoun.
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The proposal comes as U.S. Republican lawmakers this year drafted hundreds of laws designed to restrict LGBTQ+ freedoms, specifically to regulate aspects of transgender people’s lives, including gender-affirming health care, toilet use, athletics and drag performances.
Although the bill also targets state employees, Burgum’s veto message focused on its potential impact on public schools.
“The teaching profession is challenging enough without the hard hand of state government forcing teachers to take on the role of pronoun police,” Burgum said in a letter to the heads of the state senate. “Parents, teachers and administrators can address unique and infrequent situations with compassion, empathy and common sense.”
The first amendment already protects teachers from speaking out against their beliefs, the governor added in his letter. He said the existing law also protects the freedom of expression of state officials, who cannot be required to use preferred pronouns.
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Lawmakers supporting the rejected law said in debates it would free teachers from worrying about how they would address each student and create a better learning environment.
Opponents said it targeted transgender students who were already at risk.
“For trans youth, especially those who cannot be safe at home, school may be one of the few places where they can be themselves,” Cody Schuler, spokesman for the ACLU of North Dakota, said in a statement . “Trans youth thrive when they are gender affirmed, which includes being addressed with a name and pronoun that reflects who they are.”
Schuler praised Burgum’s veto in Thursday’s statement, saying such bills were motivated by “ignorance, misinformation and fear.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader David Hogue of Minot did not immediately respond for comment.
In 2021, Burgum vetoed a bill that would have barred transgender girls from playing on girls’ teams in public schools.
The legislature did not overrule the veto. But they are considering new legislation in this session to replicate and expand this bill, including at the college level. Two bills passed the House of Representatives with a veto-proof majority. The Senate considered them on Monday.
Source : www.foxnews.com