Utah Gov. Spencer Cox nailed it on the head when, in wisely vetoing a bill banning transgender athletes from participating in girls’ sports, he noted: “Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.”
Unfortunately, the Utah Legislature has angrily overridden Cox’s veto, making it the 12th state to adopt such a transgender sports ban. Only one transgender girl participating in K-12 sports in Utah would be affected by the ban — proving Cox’s point.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, also a Republican like Cox, vetoed a similar bill last week, but Hoosier State lawmakers are expected to override Holcomb. The Arizona Legislature has recently passed a transgender girls’ sports ban (not to mention a ban of abortion at 15 weeks). It is not yet known if extremist Gov. Doug Ducey will sign it. Piling on, the Oklahoma Legislature last week likewise passed such a ban, with the phony name, “Save Women’s Sports Act.”
Most supporters of this tsunami of anti-trans legislation claim they’re concerned about equity in girls’ sports. But they’ve been noticeably AWOL in the past over inequitable funding issues in girls’ sports.
Cox, in vetoing the Utah bill, laudably wrote that he could have taken the easy way out and signed the bill. But, in speaking of transgender students, Cox poignantly noted: “I want them to live.” Suicide remains a disproportionate risk for LGBTQ students.
It is shocking and reprehensible that bills to push such election-year hot-button bans have been introduced in half of the state legislatures around the country.
“We need reason — and compassion — to prevail here,” says FFRF Co-President Dan Barker. “We can only repeat what Gov. Cox has pointed out: Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.”
What Cox did not point out is that sponsors of these bills are almost exclusively religiously motivated, yet another reason why it’s vital that religion stays out of our laws and social policy.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 36,000 members across the country, including hundreds of members in Utah. Its purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism. Photo by Michael Moloney via Shutterstock.