Utah state lawmakers on Friday overrode their Republican governor’s veto of a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls’ sports, ensuring the controversial piece of legislation will go into effect.
During a special session called specifically to consider a veto override, both Republican-controlled chambers of the state Legislature met the two-thirds threshold to revive the bill.
The measure passed 21-8 in the Senate and 56-18 in the House. Ten Republicans in Utah’s state House and five in the state Senate who had previously voted against the bill changed their votes to support the bill during the override session. Both chambers voted on Friday without additional debate.
The legislation is slated to go into effect July 1.
Under the forthcoming law, transgender girls will be prohibited from playing on school sports teams aligning with their gender identity. The bill’s language bars “a student of the male sex from competing against another school on a team designated for female students.” It defines “sex” as the “biological, physical condition of being male or female, determined by an individual’s genetics and anatomy at birth.”
Lawmakers passed the bill earlier this month in the final hours of their legislative session.
The veto override vote came just days after Republican Gov. Spencer Cox penned a heartfelt letter to legislators in which he said he’d been moved by data showing that including transgender youth in sports could reduce suicide rates within the group.
“I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly,” Cox wrote.