LGBTQ rights activists protest outside Gov. Cox’s office

The Utah Senate passed a bill banning most gender-affirming health care for transgender minors in Utah by a 20-8 vote on Friday morning.

LGBTQ rights activists stage a demonstration outside Utah Gov. Spencer Cox's office. (Ben Winslow|FOX 13 News)

SALT LAKE CITY • LGBTQ rights activists staged a demonstration outside Governor Spencer Cox’s office on Friday night, demanding he veto a bill that restricts health care for transgender youth.

“Trans lives are on the line! Governor Cox, please don’t sign!” some chanted.

Senate Bill 16 passed the legislature earlier in the day on its final vote after a series of emotional debates. On Thursday, Gov. Cox told FOX 13 News he was not planning to veto the bill.

Some of the same demonstrators were here in 2019, when they sat outside the governor’s office and demanded action to ban conversion therapy. Then-Lt. Governor Cox promised to help them and an administrative rule was passed that did it (a bill has been introduced in the legislature this year to undo it).

Ermiya Fanaeian said it was “disheartening” to be outside the governor’s office again asking him to protect transgender youth.

“He’s actually been wishy-washy about whether or not he will sign it into law,” Fanaeian said, adding: “He hasn’t been taking a strong stance on protecting trans kids, so I have no hope he will veto. No plan is definitely no plan to protect trans children from the consequences of these bills. So he needs to make a serious and committed stance to veto every single one of these bills as they will have severe consequences and trans kids will in fact, end up dying as a result of them.”

The demonstrators on Friday sat outside the governor’s office for about an hour until the Capitol closed. Utah Highway Patrol troopers stood back and observed. The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah was also on hand to ensure the demonstration was peaceful.

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