Utah Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto to Protect Women’s Sports

Lawmakers in Utah sent Republican Governor Spencer Cox a bill that would ban men and boys from competing on sports teams designated for women and girls, and the governor vetoed the bill. He said he was concerned about lawsuits against the state and believed such legislation wasn’t necessary.

The Washington Times reported that the governor held a special session to protect the state from lawsuits.

The legislature disagreed with Gov. Cox’s rationale and voted to override his veto. It’s now against the law in Utah for a male to compete on women’s sports teams, effective July 1. So far, 12 states have passed such laws.

“We want to prevent something that has not occurred, has not created a problem, and so we’re looking for a solution where there is no problem,” Democrat Rep. Carol Spackman Moss said. To the contrary, said a Republican lawmaker.

Republican state Rep. Mike Schultz argued that it was time to take action, given that not long ago the number of known transgender scholastic athletes in the Utah was zero.

“We know this is impacting our schools, our communities and especially our girls. We’ve seen it play out in the national headlines, and now Mr. Speaker, is the time to create policy for Utah that will provide clarity moving forward,” Mr. Schultz said. “Do we want to wait until something like the [Penn] swimmer situation happens in Utah? I don’t think that’s good policy.”

Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota made a similar decision as Gov. Cox. She refused to sign her legislature’s bill barring men from competing on women’s sports teams last year. Gov. Noem said she was concerned about “vague and overly broad language” that could have “significant unintended consequences.”

Gov. Noem sent the bill back and requested changes, but lawmakers refused. They didn’t have the votes to override her veto. Gov. Noem issued two executive orders barring men from competing on teams designated for women and eventually signed a similar bill into law.

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