GOP Governors Reject Anti-LGBTQ Legislation, Noting Overreach and Costly Lawsuits

March 28, 2022

Govenors in three states are considering whether to sign discriminatory legislation that bans transgender youth from school sports: Arizona, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. Lawmakers in Indiana will meet to vote on overriding their governor’s veto. A bill to restrict access to gender-affirming care passed Arizona’s legislature and goes to Gov. Doug Ducey. Every major medical association supports such care as safe and lifesaving, and transgender youth access to school sports in their authentic gender. Statements here.

An increasing number of GOP lawmakers are sounding alarms about these bills and the lawsuits they will incur that states cannot afford. They’ve also noted how the bills are an overreach of government for a party professing to be for “parents’ rights,” and how the bills target a small number of students while inflicting great harm on many.

A sampling of recent GOP opposition to anti-LGBTQ bills:

Idaho Senate Republicans, rejecting a bill to ban gender affirming care:  

“HB 675 undermines parental rights and allows the government to interfere in parents’ medical decision-making authority for their children. We believe in parents’ rights and that the best decisions regarding medical treatment options for children are made by parents, with the benefit of their physician’s advice and expertise.” 

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (pictured above), vetoing a bill to ban transgender students from school sports, grades kindergarten to 12th grade:  

“With several lawsuits already being litigated across the country, why would Utah insist — even encourage — expensive and debilitating legal action with no recourse for the organization that serves our own student athletes and schools? I hope you can agree that if we want to protect women’s sports, bankrupting the institution that is responsible for their participation is a bad place to start…”

“I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion. I also try to get proximate and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles. Here are the numbers that have most impacted my decision: 75,000, 4, 1, 86 and 56.

  • 75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah.
  • 4 transgender kids playing high school sports in Utah.
  • 1 transgender student playing girls sports.
  • 86% of trans youth reporting suicidality.
  • 56% of trans youth having attempted suicide.

“Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.” 

Full statement here.

Gov. Cox’s veto was overridden by the Utah legislature on Friday, with at least two Republicans in each chamber joining Democrats in voting against the override, without addressing any of the governor’s concerns. The Salt Lake Tribune noted that election season kicked off on Saturday with five Republican county conventions.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb vetoed a bill banning transgender girls from school sports with the following warning: 

“The wide-open nature of the grievance provisions makes it unclear about how fairness and consistency will be maintained for parents and students… Of the several states that have passed similar legislation, lawsuits have been filed or have threatened to be filed. The courts have enjoined or prohibited laws with these substantive provisions from taking effect based on equal protections grounds… this bill leaves too many unanswered questions.”

Full statement here.

Indiana’s legislature meets to consider overriding the veto in a session planned for May. Indiana’s bill targets transgender girls, including those as young as Kindergarteners.