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Wisconsin Dem governor faces backlash after vetoing GOP bill to protect female sports: 'You despise all women'

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is facing backlash after he vetoed a GOP bill to prevent transgender students from competing on certain school sports teams.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, is facing backlash after he blocked a GOP-led measure that would have prevented transgender students in the state from competing on school sports teams that do not align with their biological sex.

Evers said the bill he vetoed "fails to comport with our Wisconsin values" in a letter Tuesday to state lawmakers. Assembly Bill 377 passed through both chambers of the state's GOP-controlled legislature earlier this year.

"I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to codifying discrimination into state statute and the Wisconsin State Legislature's ongoing efforts to perpetuate hateful and discriminatory rhetoric and policies targeting LGBTQ Wisconsinites, including our transgender and gender nonconforming kids," Evers wrote.


"This type of legislation, and the harmful rhetoric beget by pursuing it, harms LGBT Wisconsinites' and kids' mental health, emboldens anti-LGBTQ harassment, bullying, and violence, and threatens the safety and dignity of LGBTQ Wisconsinites, especially our LGBTQ kids," he added.

Evers vowed Tuesday to veto "any bill that makes Wisconsin a less safe, less inclusive, and less welcoming place for LGBTQ people and kids."

The measure would have most prominently prohibited "pupils of the male sex from participating on an athletic team or in an athletic sport that is designated for females under par."

Shortly after he announced the veto, Evers shared a clip of him rejecting the measure on social media, writing, "I just vetoed Republicans’ anti-LGBTQ bill to ban trans and gender nonconforming kids from participating in school sports teams that align with their gender identity."

Riley Gaines, the former NCAA swim star who's seemingly become the face of fairness in women's sports after being forced to compete against biological men, took aim at Evers over his decision to reject the bill.

"BREAKING: I hate women and children," Gaines wrote in a post to X. "Fixed it for you."


"Giving love and respect is NOT done by allowing girls to be injured and have their opportunities stolen," Paula Scanlan, a spokeswoman for the Independent Women's Forum, wrote in response to Evers.

Adrianne Curry, a model and actress, also weighed in on the governor's decision, accusing him of despising women.

"FYI, you despise all women and want us to fail in every way," Curry wrote. "Thank you! Thank you for hating women SO MUCH, you can't even hide it to save face in the public."

"That'll show those girls," added Tony Kinnett, an investigative columnist for the Daily Signal.

Another social media user wrote in response, "Sad day for women's sports."

In vetoing the bill, Evers also argued that the measure "ignores" a 2015 policy created by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) to govern the eligibility of transgender high school athletes in the state.

That policy, which does not prevent biological males from playing on female-designated sports teams, requires transgender females to undergo a full year of hormone therapy before they are able to play on female sports teams.

Evers also argued that the measure "may conflict with existing federal law," saying the Education Department's 2021 notice of interpretation declared "that the Title IX prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex is inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity, which is inclusive of transgender students."

Prior to Evers' veto, the measure passed the state assembly on a party-line vote of 63-35 in October. The measure was then approved last month, mostly along party lines, by state senators in a 21-11 vote before it reached the governor's desk.

Neither GOP-led body has the required two-thirds majority to override Evers' veto.

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