Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine

Ohio GOP Leaders Slam Governor Over Transgender Bill Veto

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (File) By Arjun Singh

Many Ohio Republicans have attacked the state’s Republican governor, Mike DeWine, over his veto on Friday of a bill that would have banned transgender medical procedures for minors in the state.

DeWine on Friday announced that he vetoed Substitute House Bill 68, known as the Ohio Saving Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which was passed by the Ohio General Assembly on Dec. 13 and would have banned doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors, as well as performing surgeries to change their sexual physiology, according to the text of the bill.

DeWine’s veto was attacked by several prominent Republicans from the state, who criticized the decision as being incongruous with conservative values.

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“There are many things the law rightfully says no one, including parents, may do to children,” Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I’m extremely disappointed in the governor’s decision and hope it is overridden.”

The bill would have also prohibited biological boys from competing in girls’ sporting competitions. DeWine has previously opposed such bans.

“This is very simple. We have a duty to protect safety and fair competition for female athletes and to protect children from being subjected to permanent, life-altering medical procedures before the age of 18,” Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose of Ohio, who is running for the senate seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, said. “The state legislature should do the right thing and override this veto!”

Republicans have a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Ohio General Assembly, enabling them to override DeWine’s veto if all GOP legislators supported the bill without any defections. However, on final passage, only 62 Republicans in the House of Representatives voted for the bill, while the votes of five Republicans were unrecorded, making it unclear whether DeWine’s veto may be sustained.

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Ohio Governor Mike DeWine just vetoed a simple law that would have stopped boys from competing in girls’ sports & stopped kids from undergoing genital mutilation & chemical castration,” Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, who is from Ohio, wrote on X. “Even Ohio’s Lt. Governor [Jon Husted] favored passage of the bill. Shame on DeWine.”

“I support it for two main reasons: Men should not compete in women’s sports. Permanent medical decisions concerning gender should not be made when you are a child,” Husted wrote on Thursday. “I hope the SAFE Act will become law in Ohio.”

Others were more blunt in attacking DeWine’s conservative credentials.

“HB68 is the easiest bill for a RepublIcan Governor to sign. DeWine is not a Republican,” former Republican Rep. Jim Renacci of Ohio, who ran against DeWine in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary in 2022, tweeted in response to the decision. “But Ohio allows Democrats to vote in the Republican primary. Which is how DeWine was nominated.”

DeWine defeated Renacci in 2022’s primary by a margin of 20 percentage points, and he won the general election by a margin of 25 percentage points.

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