GOP governor in Utah says he’ll vote against bill banning biological males from women’s sports

Utah Republican Governor Spencer Cox said Friday that he plans to veto a recently passed bill that would ban biological males from women’s sports after he had spent time trying to broker a compromise between transgender advocates and social conservatives that ultimately failed, according to the Daily Wire.

House Bill 11 was passed by the legislature on Friday and would require student-athletes to participate in sports according to their biological sex as assigned at birth.

Cox announced his intention to veto the bill in front of a group of transgender students. “I just want them to know that it’s gonna be okay,” he said. “We’re gonna work through this.”

Only two other Republican governors have vetoed similar legislation–Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas vetoed a bill preventing transgender medical interventions for minors, which was overridden by the state legislature, and Kristi Noem of South Dakota vetoed a ban on biological males competing in women’s sports, but later signed a different ban and said the first bill was badly crafted and would have ended up in the courts.

Utah an outlier

Eleven Republican-led states now have bans on biological males in women’s sports at the K-12 and college levels, and 29 states have made some move to do so.

Liberals praised Cox for his statement. Cathryn Oakley of the Human Rights Campaign said, “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.”

“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.”

“@GovCox is a total disaster,” American Principles Project president Terry Schilling tweeted. “Weak, dumb, and pathetic.”

Aligned with Biden?

Cox is showing with his perspective that he is aligned with President Joe Biden and Democrats on this divisive issue rather than with Republicans who generally have compassion for transgender students but draw the line at allowing them to participate in women’s sports, which they recognize is unfair.

At his State of the Union address Tuesday evening, President Joe Biden pushed for Congress to pass the radically progressive Equality Act and criticized 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.

In contrast, Republican state Sen. Curt Bramble said, “Boys can run faster, they can jump higher and they can throw farther than girls in the same age bracket. To have individuals that are born male compete against naturally born females, it’s an unfair playing field.”

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