Utah’s Republican governor has vowed to veto legislation banning biological males from women’s sports.
House Bill 11 would require that student athletes participate in sports based on the biological sex listed on their birth certificate. The legislation passed the state Senate on Friday after passing the state legislature in February.
“I just want them to know that it’s gonna be okay,” Utah Governor Spencer Cox said Friday of transgender students when he vowed to veto the bill, the Associated Press reported. “We’re gonna work through this.”
Cox did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Wire.
Cox is one of only a few Republican governors to veto similar legislation — in April 2021, Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson vetoed a bill banning transgender surgeries and procedures for minors (though the state overrode his veto and passed the bill) and Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem drew heavy criticism from conservatives in March 2021 for failing to certify a bill banning biological males from women’s sports.
Noem signed a different bill in February mandating that educational institutions assign students to teams based on biological sex.
The governor, who has strongly pushed back on criticism of her actions, told The Daily Signal in February that the original bill was “deeply flawed” and would have ended up in court.
Cox’s veto will likely make Utah the first state in 2022 to reject a bill banning biological males from women’s sports, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Eleven other states have recently enacted such legislation — Republican Governor Kim Reynolds signed Iowa’s ban on Thursday.
Leftist advocacy groups and activists were quick to praise Cox’s promise of a veto.
We are all on a journey. Our real work on this planet may be to learn to love those who are different than we are. When people take a step toward love, I'm all cheers. To our stalwart Democrats, our Governor, and the Republicans who voted no, thank you! pic.twitter.com/cVvi49zXSc
— Troy Williams (@TroyWilliamsUT) March 5, 2022
“As the first governor this year pledging to veto anti-trans legislation sent to his desk for signature, Gov. Cox deserves praise for standing up to those who continue to target and attack transgender youth,” said Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel.
“Transgender kids are kids, and they do not deserve to be the targets of dehumanizing attacks that invalidate their identity,” Oakley continued. “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.”
I’m so grateful that Republican Utah Governor Spencer Cox is vetoing a bill to ban trans girls from girls sports. https://t.co/SHQPhveRCP
— Claire Celsi (@SenClaireCelsi) March 6, 2022
I hope Utah Gov Spencer Cox’s courage and compassion will prevail. We’re letting children get caught in social fights often being waged for political gains.
Gov Cox reminds us and our Republican Party it’s children’s health and lives that are at stake. https://t.co/AvwMq0xtvr
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) March 6, 2022
But conservatives criticized the governor and accused him of failing to protect the integrity of women’s sports.
“@GovCox is a total disaster,” tweeted American Principles Project president Terry Schilling. “Weak, dumb, and pathetic.”
“Republican Governor Spencer Cox can’t even conserve the girls’ locker room,” tweeted The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles.
Republican Governor Spencer Cox can’t even conserve the girls’ locker room. https://t.co/9h8KehYBdZ
— Michael Knowles (@michaeljknowles) March 6, 2022
At least 29 states in the U.S. have made moves to craft or pass legislation banning biological males from women’s sports, according to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Other Republican-backed legislation bans minors from obtaining transgender surgeries and hormones — medical interventions that advocates and many in the legacy media frame as “gender-affirming medical care.”
During the State of the Union address Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden urged lawmakers to enact the radically progressive Equality Act, criticizing the “onslaught of state laws targeting transgender Americans and their families.”
“As I said last year, especially to our younger transgender Americans, I’ll always have your back as your president so you can be yourself and reach your God-given potential,” Biden added.