Louisiana clergy sign letter opposing transgender sports ban

Louisiana clergy sign letter opposing transgender sports ban
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A group of more than 100 Louisiana religious leaders have signed an open letter as of Wednesday that signals their opposition to legislation that would bar transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams in Louisiana.

"Our sacred texts teach us how we should behave toward one another -- that we must love one another as we love ourselves, that we must protect the vulnerable in our society, that we must recognize God’s image in everyone," the letter reads. It goes on to argue that the Bible opposes "impulses toward cruelty."

"Senate Bill 156, the so-called 'Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,' is ... full of cowardice and meanness and does nothing to make our shared society better," the letter reads. "It is cynical and frivolous, seeking to extract political advantage by playing upon people’s prejudices and fears. Worse than its lack of utility in addressing any actual problem in Louisiana, the bill is cruel."

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"Senate Bill 156 targets those least able to defend themselves -- trans children, who are among the most vulnerable young people in our society, the most likely to be depressed, commit suicide and be victimized by peers," it continues. "These children of God deserve our support and love and affirmation as they grow into adults, not our ridicule and scorn."

The letter was signed by Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders from across Louisiana.

The bill was vetoed by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D). However, the state Senate voted to override this veto, with the veto now headed to the Louisiana House of Representatives, according to The Associated Press. The GOP-led bill would need a two-thirds majority to override the veto, which Republicans in the House do not currently have.

The clergy members in the letter praised Edwards's decision while calling the proposed legislation a "political ploy, happening at the expense of children."

"Let us come together instead to ensure that Louisiana’s children have food, shelter, education and love -- the things mandated by the tenets of all our faiths and the only foundation upon which it will prove possible to build a stronger, more prosperous State," they said.