Why two Republicans voted against bill banning transgender-related surgery

Jan 27, 2023, 9:30 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2023, 6:05 pm
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, talks about SB117, which he is sponsoring, during a Senate Judicia...
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, talks about SB117, which he is sponsoring, during a Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee hearing in the Senate Building in Salt Lake City, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. (Kristin Murphy Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate has approved a bill banning transgender-related surgery and puberty blockers for minors. A total of two Republicans voted against it.

Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Woods Cross), who voted against the bill, joins Jeff Caplin’s Afternoon News to discuss why he opposes S.B. 16.

Weiler says many transgender individuals and their family members feel picked on and targeted by the bill.

“I hear families say that getting some hormone therapy or getting these puberty blockers has saved my kid’s life,” he tells Caplin. “That it helped them feel less suicidal.”

Both sides of the bill banning transgender-related surgery

The senator acknowledges “both sides” of the debate. 

“What I want to emphasize [is] there are really good arguments on both sides of these issues,” he says. “Unfortunately, the legislatures that voted for the bill, they get called transphobic and I don’t think that that’s necessarily fair.”

Along with this, Weier is running a separate bill requiring parental consent if a student wants to change their name or the pronouns they use on school records. He says this bill will not require teachers to out students to their parents.

“If a student goes up to a teacher and says ‘I would prefer you call me by this different name or different pronouns,’ and the teacher says ‘I’m cool with that,’ that’s fine,” he says. “But if the teachers being told by the principal ‘Thou shalt call this student by a different name,’ we have adopted this policy, ‘Oh but don’t tell mom and dad, because we don’t think they’re supportive,’ I think that’s a little bit dicey.”

Weiler says his biggest fear is parents pulling their children from school because they weren’t notified about the name or pronoun change.

“If they do find out, they are likely to pull their trans child out of the school. And then they’d lose all of their support network,” he says.

Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News can be heard on weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

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Why two Republicans voted against bill banning transgender-related surgery