The US state of Utah has pushed through a ban on transgender youth Athletes playing on girls’ teams, overriding a veto and joining 11 other states with similar laws amid a Nationwide culture war.
A veto letter from Governor 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.
For more Lifestyle related news and videos check out Lifestyle >>
The Utah Jazz called the ban “discriminatory legislation” and opposed it.
Cox was the second Republican Governor this week to overrule politicians on a sports-participation, but the proposal won support from a vocal conservative base that has a 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,” Republican Senator Daniel Thatcher said.
“I will do the right thing, as I always do.”
With the override of Cox’s veto, the dozen states have some sort of ban on transgender kids in school sports. Utah’s law takes effect from July 1.
Groups such as the American Principles Project have carried out a well-co-ordinated effort to promote 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 Arizona and Oklahoma passed bans.
Leaders in Deeply conservative Utah say they need the law to protect women’s sports.
Politicians argue more transgender Athletes with possible physical advantages could eventually dominate the field and without legal intervention could change the nature of Women’s sports.
Utah has one transgender athlete playing in school sport who would be affected by the ban.
The group Visit Salt Lake, which hosts conferences, shows and events, said the override could cost the state $ US50 million in revenue.
Salt Lake City is set to host the NBA All-Star game in February 2023.
NBA Spokesman Mike Bass said the league is “working closely” with the Utah Jazz on the matter.
The team is partially owned by NBA all-star Dwyane Wade, who has a transgender daughter.
Legislative leaders in Utah received concerns about the economic blow and the NBA’s withdrawal from Salt Lake City were premature and noted Texas and Florida had not faced boycotts.
“I hope the NBA and other groups understand that our intent here is to protect women’s sports and keep women’s sports safe and competitive,” Utah Republican House Speaker Brad Wilson said.
“If they have thoughts on how best to do that, we’d be happy to chat with them.”
Utah has historically been among the nation’s most conservative states. But an influx of new Residents and technology companies coupled with the growing influence of the tourism industry often sets the stage for heated debate over social issues.
On Thursday and Friday, demonstrators for and against a ban rallied at Utah’s Capitol.
Lifeline 13 11 14
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)