The Republican-majority Utah legislature voted to overturn Governor Spencer Cox’s veto of a bill that would ban biological men from competing against women and girls in school sports.
The House voted 56-18 and the Senate voted 21-8 to overturn the veto.
– Brian Mollai (m bmullahy2news) March 25, 2022
Democrats in the House and Senate were joined by two Republican lawmakers who opposed the bill.
The bill, HB11, was originally intended to create a commission to assess whether a transgender athlete could participate in a school sport – a compromise that avoids direct bans. But at the end of the legislature session earlier this month, the legislature passed a last-minute amendment to the bill that barred transgender girls from participating in school sports, ”the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The bill was sponsored by state representative Kera Berkland, who defended the bill amid heated debate, noting that transgender students could still participate in co-ed sports.
“I often ask myself why I was in such a hurry. Why this process? Well, it’s easy. For almost two years now, we have been trying to come up with other options, “said Barclays at a rally before the vote.” We could not reach a compromise. You can’t compromise with freedom. “
Cox said he was vetoing the bill because he wanted to protect the “integrity of women’s sports” while allowing transgender students to participate. He claimed that only four transgender students are participating in girls’ sports in the state.
In his statement on the veto, the governor referred to the suicide rate among transgender people and wrote: “I do not understand what they are going through or why they feel like it. But I want them to live.
– Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox (@GovCox) March 25, 2022
Republican lawmakers who supported the override rallied in the capital before the vote and faced protests.
As the rally drew to a close, HB11 protesters chanted “Trans Rights are human rights.” pic.twitter.com/4TXKMYv3Pd
– Kim Bozorkej (@Kimbozarke) March 25, 2022
“There is a clause in the bill that the commission will be effective if the ban is sued in a Utah court and it is found to be unconstitutional. Senate President Stuart Adams said the bill was expected to be heard, “the Tribune reported. “The legislature also proposed and passed a bill that would compensate high schools for legal costs if they sued, addressing concerns that the ban would result in a costly legal battle at the expense of the Utah High School Activity Association, which represents about 160 high schools. By. “
The report explained, “This bill, HB3001, would set aside a one-time $ 500,000 from the state’s general fund for schools or local educational institutions to cover legal costs.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah has already promised to sue.
The ACLU said in a statement: “We are deeply disappointed by today’s vote in the Utah Legislature and regret that the transgender youth have been discriminated against and excluded from full participation in sports,” the ACLU said in a statement. “Filing a lawsuit to stop HB11 from taking effect is now both necessary and inevitable to ensure a constitutional commitment to equal protection for all Utans.”
The bill will now become law on July 1.
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