Skip to content Skip to footer

Ohio House Overrides Governor DeWine’s Veto of Anti-Trans Bill

“It’s despicable,” a transgender advocate in Ohio told Truthout.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks in Covington, Kentucky, on January 4, 2023.

The Ohio House voted 65-28 to override Gov. Mike DeWine’s (R) veto of HB 68, a bill that would prohibit transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care and ban transgender girls from playing on female sports teams in high school and college. The Ohio House returned early from their winter vacation last week to expedite the veto override process.

“We are extremely disappointed that the Ohio House continued their crusade against transgender youth and their families by returning early for an emergency session to override the Governor’s veto on HB 68,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and ACLU of Ohio said in a statement. “This state-sponsored vendetta against some of Ohio’s most vulnerable young people is beyond cruel.”

After DeWine vetoed the bill in December, former president Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy pressured Ohio legislators to override the veto.

“MAGA extremists in the legislature have caved to Trump’s bullying and decided that politicians, not parents, should decide what health care Ohio’s youth have access to,” Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “The override is a clear attempt to earn the approval of Trump and rile up their base instead of doing what is best for Ohio families. But the battle isn’t over.”

According to transgender rights advocate Cam Ogden, as state representatives headed into the chamber to cast their votes on the veto override, they encountered a group of transgender youth and their parents “begging them to change their minds.”

“Many of the Republicans looked at these families with disgust, but a large portion also looked disgusted with themselves,” Ogden told Truthout. “This ‘emergency session’ was called because kicking trans youth out of the state of Ohio is a priority of the GOP now. It’s despicable.”

On January 24, the Ohio Senate will decide whether to override the veto. To successfully override the governor’s veto, legislators must secure a 60 percent majority vote in both houses.

“My heart breaks for the trans kids in the state who are being forced to be who they are not. Trans kids deserve the world, and this is ripping it away from them,” Riley Roliff, a writer and transgender advocate in Ohio, told Truthout. “I hope that they know that there are people who love them and fight for them.”

Last Friday, DeWine issued a series of executive orders that advocates say constitute a de facto ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth and adults in an attempt to avoid a veto override. The DeWine administration is currently inviting feedback on the regulations; however, the deadline for public comments is set to expire on January 19. If DeWine’s anti-trans rules are implemented, Ohio would be one of the least hospitable states for transgender people in the country.

“The restrictions would prohibit most primary care providers from providing hormone treatments to transgender people of any age, enforce a list of cumbersome requirements unfounded by medical evidence, and threaten to shut down care across the state,” the ACLU of Ohio said in a statement.

In 2023, both Missouri and Florida implemented similar anti-trans restrictions, leading to the removal of transgender individuals from their prescribed medications. Transgender people in these states were forced to seek health care in other states or undergo medical detransition. In May, a Missouri judge blocked the state’s anti-trans rule, finding it discriminatory.

“In one fell swoop, these proposals could threaten the lives and well-being of transgender youth and adults across the state and needlessly insert politicians and bureaucracy between them and their doctors,” the ACLU and ACLU of Ohio said in a statement. “This is a dangerous escalation and unfounded effort to control Ohioans’ bodies, lives, and futures.”

A critical message, before you scroll away

You may not know that Truthout’s journalism is funded overwhelmingly by individual supporters. Readers just like you ensure that unique stories like the one above make it to print – all from an uncompromised, independent perspective.

At this very moment, we’re conducting a fundraiser with a goal to raise $40,000 in the next 6 days. So, if you’ve found value in what you read today, please consider a tax-deductible donation in any size to ensure this work continues. We thank you kindly for your support.