"They say the" have the votes and, frankly, we believe them."
Two white men laughing

Republican Reps. Merrin and Antani (Courtesy:

This commentary was originally published on January 3rd, 2024 in the Buckeye Flame.

In 2023, the Ohio legislature passed just over a dozen bills, and many of those were trivial or ceremonial, like naming a highway.

But they made sure to have 25 hearings on anti-LGBTQ+ bills, mostly targeting youth. 

Now legislators are coming back early from their holiday vacations solely to take healthcare from kids. 

On the heels of the Ohio is Home coalition’s herculean accomplishment of convincing Governor DeWine to veto HB 68, proponents of the bill have responded about as graciously as we would expect. 

They’ve recruited the national Republican heavy hitters, including Trump, to weigh in against DeWine’s decision, and the leadership of the Ohio House appears to have immediately buckled to the pressure by obediently expediting their plan to override the veto.

On WEDNESDAY, January 10th, the Ohio HOUSE is coming back early from their holiday break specifically to override Governor DeWine’s veto.

They say they have the votes and, frankly, we believe them.

You’re asking, “If the House votes to override next week, does that mean the bill becomes the law of the land?” 

Not yet. 

Even if the House votes to override the veto, the Ohio Senate still must concur and the Senate doesn’t return for a few weeks. While it is very likely that they will vote to concur, the vote is not yet scheduled. Meaning, regardless of what happens next week, HB 68 will not yet become LAW. Once the veto is overridden in both the Senate and House, HB 68 will go into effect 90 days after the Senate votes to override.

To stop this override, we will need a miracle. We’ve been blessed with many last-minute miracles over these past few years, all of them connected to our community making its voice heard. We need everyone to  intensify  pressure on the legislature and thwart  this override. 

Governor DeWine debunked every major anti-gender affirming care talking point during his press conference announcing the decision. Watch it yourself here. That’s why we know this has nothing to do with wanting to protect kids—it’s pure partisan politics. Because if it were about protecting kids and following the facts, they’d listen to doctors, to patients, to parents, to members of the trans community, to social workers, to subject matter experts, and they’d reach the same conclusion DeWine did: 

Gender affirming care saves lives.

And let me be totally clear: lawmakers expressing that they “feel bad” but “have to vote this way” because of internal party politics can save their breath. Feeling bad about voting for a bill that will harm kids does not in any way mitigate the danger that families of trans kids will face if the bill becomes law. A moral stance that folds with the slightest gust of political pressure—or that doesn’t result in voting consistent with said moral stance—is a farce. 

Ohio is our Home. And if the Ohio legislature overrides this veto, voters will remember. That’s a promise. We’ll continue to organize. We’ll continue educating voters. And when Ohioans vote (again) for fair districts, we’ll fire those extremist lawmakers.

In the meantime, join me in spending the next week pushing for the Ohio House to see reason. We need you.