TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) — A bill defining biological sex in restrooms will become law in Kansas.
The House voted 84-40 to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of Senate Bill 180 on Thursday. The Senate voted 28-12 to override the governor’s veto of the bill Wednesday. The new law will take effect on July 1.
Senate Bill 180 creates the “Women’s Bill of Rights,” which has also been called the “bathroom bill” by opponents.
“What’s the rights of a woman? For 50 years, women have fought for rights, for the right to vote, for the right to drive, and now we’re being told today that women’s rights don’t matter,” said Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, who carried the bill in the House on Thursday. “Little girls should not have to be exposed to a man in the female bathroom.”
The bill defines biological sex in areas like restrooms, locker rooms, and domestic violence centers.
“Men should go to the men’s restroom, and ladies should go to the ladies’ restroom,” said Rep. Chuck Smith, R-Pittsburg, who rose in support of the bill.
However, both sides have differing opinions on what the legislation would accomplish. Democrats rose in opposition to the bill.
“Are you all going to check the genitals of every trans child who walks into the restroom, or maybe just children in general, so you can figure out who’s a male and who’s a female biologically?” said Rep. Heather Meyer, D-Overland Park.
“What it’s about is politicians getting in the way of parents, children and their medical providers,” said D.C. Hiegert, a legal fellow with the ACLU of Kansas, in an interview with Kansas Capitol Bureau.
Kansas House Speaker Dan Hawkins, Majority Leader Chris Croft, and Speaker Pro Tem Blake
Carpenter issued the following statement:
“By overriding the Governor’s veto of the Women’s Bill of Rights, House Republicans stand with women and girls in Kansas and their right to privacy, safety, and dignity in single-sex spaces. Trading one group’s rights for another’s is never okay.
The activists who seek to change the definition of a woman ignore the biological differences that exist between the sexes and recklessly expose females to specific forms of violence, including sexual violence, therefore compromising the safety of female-only spaces such as restrooms, domestic violence shelters, rape crisis centers, and prisons.
House Republicans believe women and girls in Kansas deserve privacy, safety, and dignity in single-sex spaces and are dedicated to ensuring the current laws that have historically protected these rights can continue to do so.”