GOP overrides governor’s vetoes of 2 bills concerning transgender rights in NC

RALEIGH, N.C. — Two bills concerning transgender rights that were vetoed by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper have been overridden by GOP supermajorities in the General Assembly.

The Democratic governor vetoed both pieces of legislation last month. One bans gender-affirming health care for minors and the other limits transgender participation in school sports.

The veto of the health care bill was overridden by a 73-46 vote. The sports bill veto was overridden with a 74-45 vote.

The GOP holds veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time since 2018, affording Republicans a clear path to consider certain LGBTQ+ restrictions that had not previously gained traction in North Carolina.

North Carolina has now become the 22nd state to enact legislation restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for trans minors — though many of those laws are facing court challenges.

The North Carolina bill bars medical professionals from providing hormone therapy, puberty-blocking drugs and surgical gender-transition procedures to anyone under 18, with limited medical exceptions. Now that the bill is overridden, the legislation takes effect immediately, though minors who had started treatment before Aug. 1 could continue receiving that care if their doctors deem it medically necessary and their parents consent.

Gender-affirming care is considered safe and medically necessary by the leading professional health associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society. While trans minors very rarely receive surgical interventions, they are commonly prescribed drugs to delay puberty and sometimes begin taking hormones before they reach adulthood.

The other bill scheduled for its first override vote Wednesday in the House prohibits transgender girls from playing on girls’ middle school, high school and college sports teams.

Bill supporters argue that legislation is needed to protect the safety and well-being of young female athletes and to preserve scholarship opportunities for them. But opponents say it’s discrimination disguised as a safety precaution and would unfairly pick on a small number of students.

Local LGBTQ+ rights advocates have vowed to challenge the gender-affirming care ban in court.

“The legislature finally comes back to pass legislation that discriminates, makes housing less safe, blocks FEMA disaster recovery funding, hurts the freedom to vote and damages our economy,” Gov. Cooper said in a statement. “Yet they still won’t pass a budget when teachers, school bus drivers and Medicaid Expansion for thousands of working people getting kicked off their health plans every week are desperately needed. These are the wrong priorities, especially when they should be working nights and weekends if necessary to get a budget passed by the end of the month.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

VIDEO: Veto-proof North Carolina GOP advances transgender sport ban

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