UTAH (ABC4) – One of the most controversial bills of the 2022 Legislative Session will become law in Utah on July 1.
The bill, House Bill 11, would ban transgender girls from competing in girls’ school sports.
After its first proposal on Utah’s Capitol Hill by sponsor Representative Kera Birkeland, (R) Morgan, the bill drew immediate backlash, including from Utah Governor Spencer Cox himself.
“If you have not spent time with transgender youth, then I would encourage you to pause on this issue,” Gov. Cox said regarding the bill in February of last year. “We have so many people who are in a very difficult spot right now. And we have very few if any transgender girls participating in sports.”
Despite many lawmakers speaking out against the bill, it eventually passed through the legislature, before Gov. Cox vetoed the bill, as he publicly stated he would beforehand.
Despite the veto, on March 25, both chambers of Utah’s legislature voted to override Governor Cox’s veto on House Bill 11.
Protestors from both sides rallied outside the Utah State Capitol that day.
Legislators in favor of the bill say the purpose is to protect the safety and integrity of women’s sports, while still respecting all athletes.
“Let’s take a moment, let’s celebrate this victory for women in our state, but then let’s get to work tomorrow, bill sponsor Rep. Kera Birkeland Birkeland told ABC4 following the passing of the bill.
But not everyone feels the same way.
The families of two Utah high school students have filed lawsuits against the legislation.
The families have elected to proceed anonymously to protect the identities of the girls involved. One girl is a 16-year-old junior in high school who wants to play volleyball and a 13-year-old girl who wants to swim.