Gov. Cox dubs June ‘Month of Bridge Building’ instead of Pride Month

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Gov. Spencer J. Cox officially declared June a “Month of Bridge Building” for Utah instead of Pride Month for the first time in his four-year tenure.

Governor Spencer J. Cox posted his declaration on X, the platform previously known as Twitter. The post garnered dissatisfied reactions from both liberals and conservatives alike. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Every year, Cox has released an official declaration on the first day of June, declaring it Pride Month for the state. The previous three declarations referenced the LGBTQ+ community repeatedly throughout the documents. Within each declaration, statements were linked together with the word “whereas” placed in front of each clause. Every statement in previous years’ declarations had uniform aims to include, love and accept members of the LGBTQ+ community. Cox would then conclude by announcing his official declaration of Pride Month.

For two years in a row, the declarations were identical to one another — the 2022 version having received no update or amendment from its predecessor. This year’s declaration took a different approach.

Cox refrained from using the label of “Pride Month” for June and instead made use of the word “whereas” at the beginning of each statement to address concerns from both sides of the aisle.

In his declaration, Cox claimed to “seek for Utah to be a place where everyone feels welcome despite profound differences.” Instead of focusing each statement on the LGBTQ+ community, Cox acknowledged Utah is a pluralistic society furnished with many kinds of “marginalized, rejected or isolated” people, including those who do not necessarily support “Pride” celebrations.

Governor Cox’s X post declares June as a “Month of Bridge Building” for Utah, in place of his usual declaration of pride Month. The post left many users dissatisfied. (@GovCox via X)

Despite Cox’s intent to build bridges, “bridge building,” it would appear from the reactions his post garnered on social media, does not please everyone. 

“Hey Gov He/Him please resign. Or don’t campaign for re-election,” X user @jcdav replied to Cox’s post. The comment made reference to a video that circulated in 2022 showing Cox announcing his “preferred pronouns” before an audience of children. 

Another X user displeased by Cox’s words replied to the post, but this time with the opposite complaint.

“Your anti-trans, anti-DEI legislation makes your LGBTQ constituents unwelcome,” X user @misslindsay said. “You can say you’re kind and respectful all you want, your actions say otherwise.” 

The legislation referenced is likely SB16 which was signed into law by Cox in January 2023, banning “gender-affirming treatments” for minors in the state of Utah.

Dallin Grimm, outreach program coordinator and vice president for a local organization called Cougar Pride Center, which is not affiliated with BYU, was similarly disappointed by Cox’s declaration.

“My dad is a bridge engineer, so I know that building bridges … it’s a long, very involved process. It takes years to really make sure that everything down to materials you’re using are vetted and triple checked,” Grimm said. “If Governor Cox wants this to be the month of building bridges, he needs to be putting in the legwork to build those bridges.” 

When asked about Cox’s declaration, Rep. Phil Lyman, a fellow Republican and Cox’s opponent in an upcoming party primary election, agreed that we do need more bridges. 

“I’m all for infrastructure, but that’s not what he meant,” Lyman said. “If he’s gonna declare June as Pride Month three years in a row, then (he should) do it in an election year, too. … But to declare it a month of bridge building, … I believe it’s manipulative and disingenuous,” Lyman said.

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