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Tipsheet

Utah Legislature Overturns Gov. Cox's Veto on Barring Biological Men from Competing on Women's Sports Teams

Spenser Heaps/The Deseret News via AP, Pool, File

Despite a veto from Republican Gov. Spencer Cox earlier this week, who indicated earlier this month that he would do so, Utah on Friday became the 12th state to pass legislation protecting women's sports. The state legislature was able to successfully override his veto when the House voted 56-18 and the Senate voted 21-8, according to Ben Winslow for FOX 13. 

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His report explains that "HB11, which was amended in the final hours of the legislative session, now bans transgender children from middle and high school sports. In the event of a lawsuit, however, the bill defaults to a special commission that would evaluate transgender children's eligibility to play a sport that matches their gender identity."

Winslow was among the first to indicate the veto was coming. He also shared that Cox claimed in an interview that the Senate wouldn't be able to override his veto. 

The bill, HB 11-Student Eligibility in Interscholastic Activities, is set to go into effect on July 1, 2022. 

Winslow covered in his reporting and tweeted that ACLU has already announced a lawsuit, however. 

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The bill's sponsor, state Rep. Kera Birkeland (R) reminded that the issue is about protecting Title IX "I truly believe we’re here to uphold Title IX, to preserve the integrity of women’s sports and to do so in a way unlike other states," she said, as quoted in coverage by The Salt Lake Tribune. 

Winslow's report also explained how "The legislature will now meet in a special session to consider House Bill 3001, which offers legal protections for school districts in the event of a lawsuit."

While Democrats, including those at the national level, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), claim to advocate for protecting Title IX, they've come out in support of allowing biological men to compete in women's sports. 

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Earlier this week, another Republican, Indiana's Gov. Eric Holcomb, vetoed such legislation. As Madeline mentioned in her coverage of the veto, an override may come as soon as May 24, when lawmakers meet again. 

In addition to the 12 states which have passed such laws, others are considering following suit, as Madeline has been covering, including Arizona.

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