Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law legislation curbing talk of so-called "divisive concepts" (including discussions about race) in the state's classrooms and barring transgender athletes from participating on school sports teams consistent with their gender identity, The Hill reported. Another measure creates a "Parents' Bill of Rights" granting parents greater authority to review instructional materials.
During a signing ceremony at Forsyth County Arts and Learning Center, Kemp said House Bill 1084officially titled the "Protect Students First Act"ensures that "academic freedom" is protected in Georgia schools.
Pro-LGBTQ groups slammed Kemp's signings.
Southern Poverty Law Center Interim Deputy Legal Director Scott McCoy said, "In an effort to put one set of 'students and parents first,' Gov. Brian Kemp completely dismisses the rights of LGBTQ+ students and parents. And by declaring to not want to 'indoctrinate our kids with their partisan political agendas,' Kemp instead imposes his own discriminatory agenda on Georgians, yet again.
"Governors and legislators across the South continue to ignore the fact that there is no, and there never has been, any evidence proving transgender student-athletesspecifically femalesenjoy any advantage over cisgender competitors. There is no unleveled playing field in this regard in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, or any of the other states that have chosen to legalize unfounded fears, ignorance, and unrelenting prejudice against LGBTQ+ persons."
"Brian Kemp had the opportunity to emulate his fellow Republican governors in Utah and Indiana, who saw through efforts in their states to limit the access of transgender young people to sporting activities and vetoed similar discriminatory bills," said Human Rights Campaign's Georgia State Director, Dewayne Johnson, in a separate release. "They knew, as Gov. Kemp surely knows, that there is no basis for this legislation. The bill's attacks on gender and race are fundamentally arbitrary and not a legitimate legal basis for discrimination.
However, not all news was bad for LGBTQ+ people. On April 28, Kansas lawmakers barely sustained Gov. Laura Kelly's (D) veto of two bills accused of being discriminatory against LGBTQ+ people in the state, The Hill also noted.
"Compassion wins today," Kansas state Rep. Brandon Woodard (D)who, in 2019, became one of the state's first openly gay legislatorstweeted following the state House vote.
According to the Kansas Reflector, an anti-trans sports bill garnered 81 votes in favorfalling short of the 84 required a two-thirds majority vote to overturn the veto. On April 26, the Senate voted 28-10 to override Kelly's veto of Senate Bill 160.
State Rep. Stephanie Byers, a Wichita Democrat and the first transgender Kansas legislator, said the override vote was a decision between accepting and rejecting transgender Kansans' identities.