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Tipsheet

Another GOP Governor Vetoes Bill Prohibiting Biological Males from Women’s Sports

Spenser Heaps/The Deseret News via AP, Pool File

Republican Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah vetoed a bill on Tuesday that would prohibit biological male transgender student-athletes from participating in girls’ sports. This comes after GOP Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a similar bill in his state, as Townhall covered.

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In a lengthy Twitter thread, Cox said that the bill in question, H.B. 11, had “several fundamental flaws” and has “serious legal and financial implications.” He noted that he thought the process in drafting the bill was “poor.”

“Last year, I was encouraged to see legislators and LGBTQ advocates work on a compromise that would protect women’s sports and allow some participation for transgendered youth,” Cox wrote in the thread. “No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first.”

In Cox’s veto letter, he wrote that “only four kids” who are transgender are playing high school sports in Utah. Only one of those transgender children is participating in girls’ sports. 

“That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few,” the letter stated. “I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly.”

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“I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion,” he added in the letter.

Earlier this month, as Landon covered, Cox publicized that he would veto the legislation. This comes after biological male swimmer Will “Lia” Thomas, who competes on the women’s swim team at the University of Pennsylvania, competed in the NCAA swimming championships last week and won a race against biological females.

Utah state Senate President J. Stuart Adams published a statement on Twitter Tuesday, where he said lawmakers “must work to preserve the integrity of women’s sports” and that “finding a solution to this complicated issues is necessary to maintain fair competition.”

“While Gov. Cox and I disagree on this bill, I respect the legislative process,” he wrote in a statement. “We have been listening to our constituents, talking with experts, and we feel it’s important to make decisions now that protect athletes and ensure women are not edged out of their sport.”

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“Doing nothing is taking a step backward for women,” the letter added. “We can not ignore the scientific facts that biological boys are built differently than girls.”

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