GOP governor to veto bill banning biological males from girls’ sports: ‘Don’t want to make things harder for them’

Following legislation passed Friday banning transgender student-athletes from competing against biological girls, Republican Utah Governor Spencer Cox has announced he will use his veto power so as to not “make things harder” on the transgender community.

While Cox voiced his support for a proposed  “School Activity Eligibility Commission” in February, he was reportedly “stunned” when Utah lawmakers amended the proposal to include “an outright ban” on allowing transgender athletes to compete in girls leagues, according to the Associated Press.

To the transgender students caught up in the debate, Cox said, “I just want them to know that it’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna work through this.”

Under the initial proposal, a commission would have been established to “create criteria and evaluate transgender student-athletes’ physical characteristics and how they compare to ‘baseline ranges’ for their age and gender,” AP reported at the time. Essentially, it would have ultimately determined which transgender youths would be allowed to participate in all “gender-designated” sports.

Instead, the legislation that is headed to the governor’s desk stipulates that biological boys would no longer be allowed to compete against biological girls. Supporters of the legislation argue it would ensure a level — and safe — playing field for girls’ sports.

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

But according to Governor Cox, in addition to costing Utah taxpayers money for the inevitable lawsuits such a ban would bring, it would make things more difficult for an already struggling community.

“Anyone that’s interacted with the transgender community understands how amazing they are and how difficult it can be for them,” Cox told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I don’t want to make things harder for them than they have to be.”

However, many stress the difficulties biological girls face without such a ban, citing unfair advantages and potential difficulties in achieving sports scholarships.

So far, eleven Republican-led states have enacted bans to prevent transgender youths from participating on girls teams, including Texas, Montana, Idaho, Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi, South Dakota and Florida. Without Cox’s support, the chances that Utah will make it an even dozen are slim.

Under the passed legislation, the School Activity Eligibility Commission would have served as a back-up, should legal challenges resulted in the prohibition of an outright ban.

In response to the legislation’s passing, LGBTQ rights group Equality Utah said in a statement, “We have failed our state’s transgender children, who just want to be treated with kindness and respect.”

But proponents of such bans insist it isn’t a matter of respect, but one of brute strength.

As Bryan Fischer put it: “Utah governor so brain-addled he wants to make sure boys can keep beating up girls in sports.”

Melissa Fine


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