Editor’s note: This editorial expresses the views of the Log Cabin Democrat editorial board, which is composed of Frank Leto, Jeanette Anderton and Alex Kienlen.
Cheers to Gov. Asa Hutchinson for vetoing HB1570, which bars health care professionals from providing gender transition medical procedures and surgeries to Arkansas transgender children under the age of 18, prohibits the use of state funds for gender transition health care for minors and allows insurance companies to deny coverage for gender transition procedures and surgeries for transgender Arkansans of any age.
“If (the bill) becomes law, then we are creating new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people,” the governor said. “The bill is over broad, extreme and does not grandfather those young people who are currently under hormone treatment. In other words, the young people who are currently under a doctor’s care will be without treatment when this law goes into effect.”
He said those decisions should be made by children, their parents and their doctors, and not by politicians.
We agree with the governor and applaud him for vetoing the bill, even though he correctly believed the legislature would override his veto.
On that note, jeers to the state legislature for doing so. Pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender youth who met with the governor prior to him deciding whether to sign or veto the bill said the measure would harm a community already at higher risk for depression and suicide. This bill does not “protect children,” as its sponsors have said. Gender confirming surgery already isn’t performed on minors in the state. It does nothing to protect but plenty to harm.
Cheers to Congressmen French Hill and John Boozman. Rep. Hill has held job fairs across the state trying to drive economic development forward and reduce unemployment in the state. Sen. Boozman has pushed for all veterans to have access to the COVID-19 vaccine and toured the Conway Veterans Affairs Clinic earlier this week.
Jeers to the Greenbrier and Mt. Vernon-Enola school boards, which both voted this week to remove the districts’ mask mandates. Continued cheers to all other schools in the county for keeping their mask mandates in place through the end of the school year.
Cheers to the Faulkner County Coalition for Social Justice for organizing a rally at Conway City Hall in a show of support to the transgender community on Transgender Visibility Day. Jeers for the heavy police presence at the rally, where a couple dozen people held signs or rainbow flags versus a lighter police presence at other rallies where men armed with semi-automatic weapons stood across the street in counter-protest.
Cheers to the ones reading this. We appreciate our readers for supporting community journalism. A well-read and in-the-know population enriches the community.
Who did we miss? If you have ideas for cheers or jeers, submit them to email@example.com for consideration.