The Utah legislature overwhelmingly voted to overrule Utah Gov. Spencer Cox’s veto that would have eliminated protections for girls’ sports.
The monumental vote came on Friday when the Republican-controlled House voted 56-18 to override Cox’s deciding power and the Senate agreed 21-8. Eight GOP state legislators who previously did not support the bill voted to nullify Cox’s dissent.
The final legislation, which passed both the House and the Senate earlier this month, barred “student[s] of the male sex” from encroaching on female sports and defined that sex “determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.”
Cox, who defended racism as long as it’s against white kids justified vetoing the protections for girls’ sports after claiming that he wanted to “err on the side of kindness, mercy, and compassion.”
“I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting,” Cox wrote in his veto justification.
Cox had also claimed earlier this month that last-minute revisions to the bill by the legislature designed to make it stronger contained “fundamental flaws.” Republican leadership in the House and Senate rejected these claims and quickly called for a veto override session to correct Cox’s veto.
“We must work to preserve the integrity of women’s sports and ensure it remains fair and safe for all. … Creating a safe and fair environment for athletes takes work. We care deeply for all students, but we can not ignore the scientific facts that biological boys are built differently than girls. Doing nothing is taking a step backward for women. Finding a solution to this complicated issue is necessary to maintain fair competition now and in the future,” Senate President J. Stuart Adams said in a statement.
“Governor Cox made his intention to veto the bill clear from the day it was passed so his action today was expected,” Speaker Brad Wilson declared. “Members of the Legislature, including the sponsor, have worked tirelessly for more than a year to find the best way to approach a complex issue and I anticipate that we will have sufficient votes to override the veto. Ultimately, the Legislature recognizes the value of girls athletics and our members want to ensure girls have the level playing field to compete that was created by Title IX.”
Despite the veto override and severe pushback from the state legislature which debunked his claims about the “science” of transgenderism, Cox is still trying to doom women to playing sports with men who masquerade as women by calling a special legislative session to workshop the bill further.