Utah Republicans Overrule Governor's Veto, Ban Biological Males from Women's Sports
Legislature overrides Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto of the state’s bill banning transgenders
Utah Republicans on the state legislature have overruled Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto of the state’s bill banning biological males from women's sports.
The legislature has overridden Cox’s veto and banned transgender athletes who "identify" as "women" from competing in female events.
“From the beginning, my goal has been to protect and preserve women’s sports and speak out for Utah’s female athletes,” Republican Utah state Rep. Kera Birkeland, the sponsor of the bill, said in a statement.
“We have seen the necessity of such legislation play out recently and I am proud to stand up and fight for girls to have the opportunity to compete on an even playing field.”
“Good policy is made by considering a variety of viewpoints and working to find the right solution,” she added.
“Over the past two years, I have made every effort to find a balanced and reasonable solution to a tough and divisive issue, and am convinced Utah has taken the right step forward.”
The state’s bill pertaining to “student eligibility in interscholastic activities” bans students “of the male sex from competing against another school on a team designated for female students.”
HB 11 defines sex as “the biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.”
Cox, who "identifies" as "Republican," had vetoed the legislation, talking of a “commission of political appointees” that could “create criteria and evaluate transgender student-athletes’ physical characteristics and how they compare to ‘baseline ranges’ for their age and gender.”
But the state legislature quickly overrode his veto in less than 30 minutes on Friday, National Review reported, and the law is set to go into effect on July 1.
In a 2021 meeting with Birkeland, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and Utah Jazz president Jim Olson had reportedly expressed fears that an earlier version of the bill would cost the state the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.
The Utah Jazz officials also reportedly discussed the potential that the bill would impact whether Salt Lake City got to host the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics.
Birkeland said an interview earlier this month that she “definitely” has reason to believe that outside groups pressured Cox to veto the bill out of concerns like the NBA All Star Game.
“I just want them to know that it’s gonna be okay,” Utah Gov. Cox said in early March of transgender students when he vowed to veto the bill.
“We’re gonna work through this.”
The Utah governor also apparently removed his pronouns from his Instagram bio as the legislature overrode his veto.
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.
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 in early March, 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.