Republicans continue to target trans folks in women's sports, with several states adding to the ridiculous pain this week. Utah GOP Gov. Spencer Cox's veto of a ban on trans folk in women's sports was meaningless as Republican bigots were able to override his veto.
GOP lawmakers in Utah pushed through a ban on transgender youth athletes playing on girls teams Friday, overriding a veto and joining 11 other states with similar laws amid a nationwide culture war.
A veto letter from Gov. Spencer Cox drew national attention with a poignant argument that such laws target vulnerable transgender kids already at high suicide risk.
Business leaders also sounded the alarm that the ban could have a multimillion-dollar economic impact on Utah, including the possible loss of the NBA All-Star Game next year. The Utah Jazz called the ban “discriminatory legislation” and opposed it.
Before the veto, the ban received support from a majority of Utah lawmakers, but fell short of the two-thirds needed to override it. Its sponsors on Friday flipped 10 Republicans in the House and five in the Senate who had previously voted against the proposal.
Cox was the second GOP governor this week to overrule lawmakers on a sports-participation ban, but the proposal won support from a vocal conservative base that has particular sway in Utah’s state primary season. Even with those contests looming, however, some Republicans stood with Cox to reject the ban.
“I cannot support this bill. I cannot support the veto override and if it costs me my seat so be it. I will do the right thing, as I always do,” said Republican Sen. Daniel Thatcher.
With the override of Cox’s veto, a dozen states have some sort of ban on transgender kids in school sports. Utah’s law takes effect July 1.
Not long ago efforts to regulate transgender kids’ participation in sports failed to gain traction in statehouses, but in the past two years groups like the American Principles Project began a well-coordinated effort to promote the legislation throughout the country. Since last year, bans have been introduced in at least 25 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. This week, lawmakers in Arizona and Oklahoma passed bans.
“You start these fights and inject them into politics,” said Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project. “You pass them in a few states and it starts to take on a life of its own and becomes organic. We helped start this fight and we’re helping carry it through, but a lot of this is coming from the local level.”
Leaders in the deeply conservative Utah say they need the law to protect women’s sports. The lawmakers argue that more transgender athletes with possible physical advantages could eventually dominate the field and change the nature of women’s sports without legal intervention.
Utah has only one transgender girl playing in K-12 sports who would be affected by the ban. There have been no allegations of any of the four transgender youth athletes in Utah having competitive advantages.
Can't wait until the tall Black person ban in school basketball. It puts short white kids at a competitive disadvantage that eventually could lead to tall Black kids dominating the sport.
Hell, that's probably coming next once the Supreme Court strikes down most equal rights laws. And then we'll be targeting a new bunch of kids for not being white, straight, and Christian.