The Republican governor of Utah is promising to veto a bill that would ban biological males who identify as females from participating in women’s sports.
Gov. Spenser Cox (R) announced over the weekend he plans to veto House Bill 11 — which was approved by the Utah state Senate Friday — and sympathized with transgender athletes who feel they have been thrust to the center of a political debate, USA Today reported.
“I just want them to know that it’s gonna be OK,” he said. “We’re gonna work through this.”
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Cox’s anticipated veto will render Utah the first state in 2022 to reject legislation barring biological males from participating in sports teams designated for biological females.
The Utah governor joins a short list of GOP leaders who have vetoed similar bills.
In April of last year, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) vetoed a bill banning minors from obtaining hormone therapies or undergoing body-altering procedures for the purpose of so-called sex reassignment.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) faced an onslaught of criticism last spring, when she similarly vetoed a broad-sweeping bill that would have banned transgender athletes from competing on girls’ and women’s sports teams in the state. Speaking with CBN News’ David Brody, Noem explained in late March 2021 she feared the bill would have landed South Dakota in court and would have — more than anything — hurt residents and students in her state.
“If this bill was just a K-12 bill, you would sign it,” Brody explained at the time. “But the problem is the college component here, because the NCAA may sue the state or maybe take their business elsewhere.”
Noem responded, “Only girls should be playing in girls’ sports. That’s not up for dispute. My goal is really to protect our kids. Make sure that we don’t have boys playing in girls’ sports at the [Kindergarten through 12th grade] level and then also at the collegiate level, go fight a battle that we can win.”
In February of this year, Noem — who is thought to have political aspirations beyond the governor’s mansion — signed legislation mandating educational institutions in the state assign students to sports teams based upon their biological sex.
“This bill has been an important priority for a lot of the people behind me,” she said when she signed the bill, which is set to take effect July 1. “And I appreciate all of their hard work in making sure that girls will always have the opportunity to play in girls sports in South Dakota and have an opportunity for a level playing field, for fairness, that gives them the chance to experience success.”
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