Bill banning transgender-related surgeries on minors advances after key Senate vote

Jan 19, 2023, 3:55 PM | Updated: 6:02 pm
An hour after Utah's senate passed a vote on the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries for m...
Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, speaks during the morning session of the Utah Senate to discuss several bills regarding transgender rights in Utah at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (Ryan Sun, Deseret News)
(Ryan Sun, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — An hour after Utah’s senate passed a vote on the bill that bans transgender-related surgeries for minors Thursday, Governor Cox said he will not veto that bill.

“We don’t know what the long-term effects of surgeries and these medications are on our young people,” the governor told KSL NewsRadio’s Let me Speak to the Governor. 

“And I think it’s really important that we find out.”

SB16, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, places a ban on surgeries for minors and pauses the use of hormone treatments for minors. Those currently receiving treatment won’t be impacted.

Gov. Cox said he finds the approach reasonable.

“All he [Sen. Mike Kennedy] is saying is ‘we’re gonna push pause, we’re gonna look at the research were gonna gather all of the data and make sure we’re not doing any long term harm to our young people,'” he said.

“And I think that’s a very reasonable approach.”

Senate debate on transgender-related surgeries

Before the governor’s comments, there was some passionate debate on the bill.

Through tears, Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, outlined how he has recently had multiple strokes, and during one of them, a near-death experience. 

“And I faced judgment, and I felt worthy,” He said. “And I don’t think I would feel worthy if I didn’t stand and speak right now.”

That’s when Sen.Kennedy interjected.

“Anybody that votes for this bill is not worthy to stand in front of God?” Kennedy asked. “That is the sort of thing I find entirely inappropriate. We should be speaking to the policy not God’s judgment of our policy,” Kennedy quipped back.

Thatcher continued his point, despite being asked to keep his comments germane to the bill.

“I think people will die if we pass this bill,” Thatcher said. “The people pushing for this bill are not people with transgender children.”

 Despite Thatcher’s impassioned speech and objections from Democrats, the bill advanced 22-7.

It still needs another vote in the Senate before it moves on to the House.

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Bill banning transgender-related surgeries on minors advances after key Senate vote