Yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill that would ban transgender healthcare for minors in his homestate. Hutchinson, a Republican Governor, could have easily gotten political points from the dying breed of social conservative through signing this bill. It’s not as if it was the first time he did this, in 2015 he banned counties in Arkansas from extending anti-discrimination laws to LGBT people, just last month he signed legislation allowing doctors to refuse non-emergency treatment to LGBT people “based on moral objections.”
However, we have found Hutchinson’s line. Some might think that this is because Hutchinson takes a Libertarian view on this issue, meaning he might object to it but he’s also against the government making medical decisions. This is the attitude he expressed in his speech announcing his veto, where he said the following:
While in some instances the state must act to protect life, the state should not presume to jump into the middle of every medical, human, and ethical issue.
However, is this what he believes, or is this him explaining his veto in a way Republicans might be able to sympathize with? The day before, various doctors in Arkansas stood outside the door of Governor Hutchinson, peacefully protesting the proposed legislation. A gathering of hundreds, all done in the grassroots, protesting an anti-LGBT bill certainly caused the governor to take notice. The fact that so many in a deep red state like Arkansas — not a blue state like California, Minnesota, or Colorado — a state that has not voted Democrat since 1996 (and even then, that was their former governor), surely caused Governor Hutchinson to scale back his opinion on transgender people.
Last month, South Dokatoa Governor Kristi Noem got into a similar controversy for not being anti-transgender enough. In her case, she refused to sign legislation banning male-to-female transgender individuals from participating in their school's sports teams.
Once again, Noem was far from a social liberal. As a member of the US House of Representatives, she publically stated her opposition to Obergefell v. Hodges, which allowed same-sex marriage nationwide. Even as governor, she fought against a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana, says that marriage is a “God-given union between one man and one woman,” and has signed bills designed to “crackdown on abortion providers” in her homestate.
Once again, we have a right-wing governor of a Republican state, as well as someone who has proven herself to be willing to throw a bone to social conservatives, not signing legislation that harms transgender people. Both of these governors have flexed policy muscles on issues like abortion, yet transgenderism is where the line is.
Here’s the major difference between abortion and transgenderism: Abortion has remained a hot-button issue, in large part because various “non-profits” have caused politicians to make much profit for having vocal opinions on the issue. Do you really think most politicians care about abortion, and even if they do, that if someone is pro-life or pro-choice usually falls so simply down partisan lines? Joe Biden entered Congress being pro-life, but after the abortion debate got more heated, his position became more and more pro-choice. Mitt Romney did the same, starting his political career pro-choice before becoming pro-life as Governor of Massachuttes.
Meanwhile, the transgenderism debate was one that started out very heated. However, nobody was forcing it to remain heated, instead, tensions were allowed to cool down and Americans were allowed to debate the issue. As such, the pro-trans side was allowed to win because the major opposition forces that had kept other debates hot were nowhere to be seen.
Basically, Americans evolved on the issue of transgenderism for one simple reason: They were allowed to.