Utah Senate gives initial approval to three transgender youth bills

Jan 19, 2023, 1:28 PM | Updated: 8:12 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate has given initial approval for three bills centered on transgender youth and transgender health care.

If approved after a third reading on the Senate floor, which won’t come until Friday at the earliest, the bills will move to the House.

SB16 would ban gender-confirming surgeries and place a moratorium on puberty blockers for minors, SB100 would prohibit school districts from changing the identity of a student’s gender without permission from their parents, and SB93 prohibits a name change or gender change on a minor’s birth certificate.

Gender-affirmation surgeries are medical treatments that transgender and nonbinary people sometimes use to transition or alter their sexual characteristics.

“The issue before us is complex and becoming more and more pressing each legislative session. But doing what is best for our children shouldn’t be subject to the whims and waves of any agenda,” Sen. Mike Kennedy said.

Gov. Spencer Cox told KSL NewsRadio he is not planning to veto SB16, adding the approach is reasonable to put a pause on things while researchers continue looking into the effects of surgeries on minors.

Even still, Cox said he is concerned about the message the state is sending.

According to KSL NewsRadio’s Lindsay Aerts, Cox said it’s critical that if lawmakers are going to run these kinds of bills, they get to know the people it impacts. He said the bill’s sponsor,  Kennedy, R-Alpine, has done that, while other lawmakers haven’t.

“Potential long-term negative outcomes cannot be ignored. We need to ask ourselves questions such as, ‘can a child appropriately give consent? Does a child completely understand the implications of their choice?'” Kennedy said.

“I know there are a lot of people pushing for this to happen. But the people pushing for it to happen are not those with children it will affect. The people with children this will affect are begging us not to do this,” Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R) West Valley City

“I think it’s reasonable to set limits and restrictions. I do not think it’s appropriate to set prohibitions because I do absolutely believe that people will die if we pass this bill and prohibit that care,” Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R) West Valley City. “I know there are a lot of people pushing for this to happen. But the people pushing for it to happen are not those with children it will affect. The people with children this will affect are begging us not to do this.

Thursday’s votes came less than 24 hours after an emotional committee hearing.

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Utah Senate gives initial approval to three transgender youth bills