During a press conference on Monday, June 6, Edwards stressed that he still opposes the ban, but he felt state lawmakers would inevitably override his veto if he went that route again this year.
“The effect is to tell… Send a strong message to at least some of these young people that they shouldn’t be who they think they are, who they believe they are, who they know that they are,” Edwards stated in part in regard to the ban. “And I find that very distressing. I do believe that we can be better than that.”
He also accurately pointed out that if folks really want to talk about fairness for women, it’s well past time to talk about equal pay. Edwards said Louisiana is far behind other states in the discrepancy between what men and women are paid in the state.
Frustratingly, Edwards continues to say he is against the bill, which is… something. But his perspective that it is inevitable for it to become law, and time to move on to other issues with this legislation now off the table, is disheartening for both advocates and trans youth who are watching their rights dissolve without the full and proper fight. If even Democrats are willing to retreat, who can we trust to keep fighting?
The law, like many similar anti-trans efforts, misleadingly presents itself as being about “fairness” for girls and women who play sports. Even the name of the law is misleading: “the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.” The law protects school workers who enforce this discrimination from any and all legal action, including teachers, coaches, schools, and other school staff. It also permits cisgender women to sue if they believe any violation of the ban took an athletic opportunity away from them.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because it sadly is. Other Republican-controlled states have pushed or passed legislation with eerily similar language, including Oklahoma, South Dakota, Kentucky, Iowa, Indiana, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Montana, Tenessee, West Virginia, and Arizona, according to CNN.
Edwards himself has pointed out there hasn’t been even one case of this being an issue in Louisiana and described the bill as “mean-spirited,” which is a polite way of saying evil. Even still, Edwards did not veto the legislation this time around. Many advocates hoped that he would in spite of a 32-6-0 vote in the state Senate and the 72-21 vote in the House. The law goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2022.
You can check out a video of Edwards speaking on his decision to allow the bill to become law without his signature below.