Lawmakers Bypass Governor’s Sports Ban Veto

Lawmakers Bypass Governor's Sports Ban Veto

( – On March 25, the Utah legislature voted down Republican Governor Spencer Cox’s veto of HB11. The new bill stops transgender girls from participating in female sports. The House voted 56-18 to override the veto, with the Senate vote ending at 21-8.

Governor Cox vetoed the legislation on March 24. He said he made the decision because he felt it had too many flaws. The governor explained he stands for fairness in women’s sports and protecting biological females’ ability to thrive in those sports. Still, he wanted more of a compromise that wouldn’t block transgender youths from participating in extracurricular activities. He also wanted Utah to be the first state to find a balanced approach to this issue.

Cox noted there were issues with the bill subjecting the Utah High School Athletic Association to litigation, which would result in high legal costs. The measure contained no financial protection for the association. In addition, he explained last-minute changes to the bill helped push him toward the veto.

Cox recognized his decision might not be popular among those in his political party. He said it would have been easier to sign the bill, but he didn’t feel it was the “right thing” to do.

Because the legislature voted to override the veto, the bill will go into effect. Fox13 News reports that the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah already announced it would file a lawsuit against the state. Knowing it is controversial, the legislators included a provision that in the event of a legal challenge, a special commission would evaluate the eligibility of transgender students to play sports on a case-by-case basis.

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