Utah Governor Spencer Cox, a
Republican, has pledged to veto a bill approved by lawmakers on
Friday that would prohibit transgender youth from competing in girls
Cox addressed transgender student
athletes, saying that they were caught up in a political debate they
did not create.
“I just want them to know that it's
gonna be okay,” he said. “We're gonna work through this.”
Cox had been lobbying for a compromise
on the bill that would create a commission of experts to decide on
individual cases and was stunned to learn that lawmakers advanced and
passed an outright ban.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, praised Cox's pledge to veto
the legislation, which he first made in February.
“As the first governor this year
pledging to veto anti-trans legislation sent to his desk for
signature,” Cathryn Oakley, HRC's state legislative director and
senior counsel, said in a statement. “Gov. Cox deserves praise for
standing up to those who continue to target and attack transgender
youth. Transgender kids are kids, and they do not deserve to be the
targets of dehumanizing attacks that invalidate their identity. Like
all children, they deserve the opportunity to play sports with their
friends and learn important life skills like sportsmanship, teamwork,
and healthy competition through athletic participation. Utahns
deserve better than legislators who are seeking to bully transgender
youth with politically motivated bills for the sake of discrimination
“Gov. Cox has shown he sees the
humanity of the transgender youth impacted by this legislation –
something Governors in states like South Dakota and Iowa have not.
The Human Rights Campaign appreciates his promise to veto,” she
It is widely believed that there is not
enough support among lawmakers to override Cox's veto.
Eleven Republican-led states have
approved similar bans, including Idaho, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida,
Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West
Virginia. Lawmakers in Indiana this week sent a similar bill to
Republican Governor Eric Holcomb's desk for final approval.