LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin characterized a proposed bathroom bill on Friday as “silly,” stating he doesn’t believe it is necessary to create government rules about restroom usage.
“Why? Why would we? Why would anybody need it? Is it an issue? Is there anyone you know in Kentucky who has trouble going to the bathroom?” Bevin said during a press conference in which he reviewed his first year in office, as well as plans for the upcoming year. “Seriously. Have you heard of one person in Kentucky having trouble taking care of business in Kentucky?”
“The last thing we need is more government rules,” he continued. “I’m cutting red tape, not creating it. Making government rules for things that don’t even need government rules would be silly.”
Sen. Al Robertson, R-London, who has proposed bills to require residents to use the restroom that correlates with their biological gender, has stated that he plans to introduce the effort again the next legislative session. When noted that North Carolina’s bathroom bill resulted in backlash from several large companies and organizations, he did not flinch.
“Unfortunately they (homosexual and transgender advocacy groups) have control of some things that are near and dear to our hearts, but if that’s the price of our First Amendment right, I’m willing to pay it,” Robertson told local radio station WKYU-FM.
Robertson sponsored a religious freedom bill earlier in the year that serves to protect businesses from punishment if they decline to fulfill certain orders because of their religious convictions. It passed the Senate 22-16.
“There’s more people that are backing down when they should not be backing down for the sake of the threats and the financial threats,” he said. “And to me there’s some price that’s just not worth paying.”
A bathroom bill sponosored by Sen. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, passed the Senate 27-9 in February, but was later stopped in the House.
Bevin said this week that he believes legislative time should be spent on issues “that have been bottled up for years,” rather than matters surrounding where those who identify as transgender use the restroom. He provided the examples of the establishment of charter schools and the avoidance of union dues.
Bevin, a Southern Baptist, had similarly referred to the issue as “nonsense” last December.
“If people want to spend all the time in Frankfort worrying about who uses which bathroom in the public schools, that day is over,” he said. “I’m just telling you right now. I have no tolerance or interest in that kind of nonsense. None. Those things matter to some, but they sure don’t matter relative to everything else that needs to be addressed in this state. We are going to prioritize. We are going to have a sense of purpose.”
However, Bevin was among those who joined a lawsuit this year against the Obama administration’s mandate that public schools allow students to use the restroom that correlates with their “internal sense of gender.”
“The Obama administration’s transgender policy ‘guidelines’ are an absurd federal overreach into a local issue,” he said.