Spencer Cox on Civil Rights



Paused transgender surgeries for minors, funded talk therapy

I know last session, there were difficult and controversial bills, including a pause on transgender surgeries and puberty blockers for minors which I supported. At the same time, we also unanimously passed a ban on conversion therapy and approved $1 million in funding to provide additional talk therapy for our transgender youth with one primary goal: to help those kids and let them know we want to keep you here. We want you to stay with us. Even when we disagree passionately, we must still love.
Source: 2024 State of the State Address to the Utah legislature , Jan 18, 2024

He promoted equity, diversity across state agencies

Cox spoke about inclusivity while running for the state's highest office, gave equality and opportunity a section in the document laying out goals for his administration and asked his senior staff to complete training on empathy, race and "the intersectional Utah story." He created new positions to coordinate equity initiatives and promote diversity across state agencies.
Source: Salt Lake Tribune on 2024 Utah Gubernatorial race , Jul 19, 2023

Restrict discussions on racism and sexism in classrooms

HB427: This bill ensures that all instructional materials and classroom instruction are consistent with the principles of inalienable rights, equal opportunity, and individual merit.

Opinion by ABC4 in favor:A new bill would change how teachers discuss racism and sexism in their classrooms. According to HB427, there are things that should be, and should not be addressed by teachers when it comes to racism, sexism, ageism, religious discrimination, and more.

Proposed veto letter by ACLU of Utah:We firmly believe that young people have the right to an inclusive, accurate, and honest education, free from censorship or discrimination. Unfortunately, we fear H.B.427 may create more problems than it solves, especially when addressing challenging topics such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and systemic injustices.

Legislative Outcome:Passed Senate 18-6-5 on Mar/2/23; passed House 53-18-4 on Mar/3/23; signed by Governor Spencer Cox on Mar/15/23.

Source: ABC4 & ACLU on Utah legislative voting record: HB427 , Mar 15, 2023

Wants "Utah solution" to protecting LGTBQ kids

He drew national headlines in 2016 for an emotional speech he gave reacting to the Orlando nightclub massacre that left 49 people dead. He apologized for how he treated kids growing up in his small hometown who he now realizes were gay. This year, Cox delivered an apology to protesters frustrated about the gutting of a bill to ban gay conversion therapy. He said Tuesday he's still working to find a "Utah solution" to protect LGTBQ kids during the next legislative session.
Source: Associated Press coverage of 2020 Utah gubernatorial race , May 14, 2019

Understanding & respect for differing sexual orientations

Cox garnered national attention in a speech made at a vigil in the aftermath of the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting that went viral, earning praise from Republicans and Democrats alike for its simple plea for understanding and respect for those with differing sexual orientations.

Does that make Cox too moderate for the conservative stronghold in Utah's Republican elite? He doesn't think so. "It is interesting that sometimes we confuse moderation with kindness and I hate that. It doesn't have to be that way. That is not the party I believe in. The conservative Republican party I believe in is a party of inspiration, not a party of insults. It is a party of making sure everyone has opportunity and we lift people, especially at the margins, up. By the way, that is where the Republican Party of Utah is. Nationally, not as much."

Source: Deseret News on 2020 Utah Gubernatorial race , May 14, 2019

Other governors on Civil Rights: Spencer Cox on other issues:
Gubernatorial Debates 2023:
KY: Incumbent Andy Beshear(D)
vs.State A.G. Daniel Cameron(R)

vs.Ambassador Kelly Craft(R)
vs.State Auditor Mike Harmon(R)
LA: Incumbent John Bel Edwards(D,term-limited)
vs.Jeff Landry(R)
vs.Shawn Wilson(D)
vs.John Schroder(R)
vs.Sharon Hewitt(R)
MS: Incumbent Tate Reeves(R)
vs.Bill Waller(R,withdrew)
vs.Brandon Presley(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2024:
DE: Gov. John Carney (D, term-limited);
Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D)
vs. Matt Meyer (D)
IN: Gov. Eric Holcomb (R, term-limited);
Sen. Mike Braun (R)
vs. Suzanne Crouch (R)
vs. Jennifer McCormick (D)
MO: Gov. Mike Parson (R, term-limited):
Jay Ashcroft (R)
vs. Bill Eigel (R)
vs. Mike Kehoe (R)
vs. Crystal Quade (D)
MT: Gov. Greg Gianforte (R)
vs. Tanner Smith (R)
vs. Ryan Busse (D)
Gubernatorial Debates 2024 (continued):
NC: Gov. Roy Cooper (D, term-limited);
Dale Folwell (R)
vs. Michael Morgan (D)
vs. Mark Robinson (R)
vs. Josh Stein (D)
vs. Andy Wells (R)
ND: Gov. Doug Burgum (R)
vs. State Rep. Rick Becker (R)
NH: Gov. Chris Sununu (R, retiring)
vs. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R)
vs. Joyce Craig (D)
vs. Chuck Morse (R)
vs. Cinde Warmington (D)
UT: Gov. Spencer Cox (R)
vs. State Rep. Phil Lyman (R)
VT: Gov. Phil Scott (R) unopposed
WA: Gov. Jay Inslee (D, retiring);
Hilary Franz (D, withdrew)
vs. State Sen. Mark Mullet (D)
vs. County Chair Semi Bird (R)
vs. WA Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D)
WV: Gov. Jim Justice (R, term-limited);
vs. WV State Auditor JB McCuskey (R, withdrew)
vs. WV Secretary of State Mac Warner (R)
vs. State Del. Moore Capito (R)
vs. WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R)
vs. Huntington Mayor Steve Williams (D)
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