Utah governor says he will veto transgender youth sports ban

The governor of Utah, Republican Spencer Cox, announced that he plans to veto the legislation passed in the state on Friday that would ban transgender student-athletes from competing against girls in sports.

If the bill does not get his support, Utah will not likely join the 11 states, all of which are Republican-led, that have recently enacted such bans.

Cox, when vowing to veto the bill, directly addressed transgender-student athletes, who he said have become the subject of political debate through no fault of their own. “I just want them to know that it’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna work through this,” he said.

For months, Cox has engaged in negotiations to compromise between LGBTQ advocates and those in support of the bill. Legislation was sent to Cox’s desk after it passed through the state Senate and House on Friday, and it bans “biological males” – defined by the bill as “an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth” – from girls’ leagues.

Supporters of the piece have said it would create a fair and safe athletic environment for young girls. “Boys can run faster, they can jump higher and they can throw farther than girls in the same age bracket,” said Republican state Sen. Curt Bramble. “To have individuals that are born male compete against naturally born females, it’s an unfair playing field.”

Equality Utah, which is an LGBTQ rights group opposed to state intervention in youth sports, announced that they were blindsided by the legislation’s passage. “We have failed our state’s transgender children, who just want to be treated with kindness and respect,” the group said.

The legislation is unlikely to survive a veto as two-thirds majorities in both chambers would be required to overturn it, and some Republicans actually oppose the ban as well.




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