The Republican governor of Arkansas called for "tolerance and diversity" Monday after vetoing a bill that would have banned gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, whose veto may be overridden by the state legislature, described HB 1570 as "extreme" and urged lawmakers to take a "more restrained approach" to the issue, Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. Hutchinson described the bill, which would have barred health care providers from treating transgender minors with medication or surgery, as a "product of the cultural war in America." He said he spoke to health care providers and transgender youth while considering the bill.
Hutchinson described the bill as "well intended," but said it would create "new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents" and noted that it did not "grandfather young people currently on hormone treatment." The bill passed both houses of the GOP-controlled Arkansas legislature with large majorities, largely on party lines, the New York Times reports. It will take only a simple majority to override the veto. ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio described the governor's veto as "an important rebuke of this sweeping range of legislation targeting trans youth across the country." He said he hoped the move would send a message to Alabama and Mississippi, which are considering similar bills. (Read more Arkansas stories.)