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Utah Gov. Cox declares June ‘A Month of Bridge Building’

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has declared June Pride Month each year since he assumed office in 2021. Last year, he dropped the “LGBTQ+” from the declaration. This year, he dropped Pride as well and declared the month “A Month of Bridge Building.”

“While the declarations in the past have been intended as gestures of kindness and our shared humanity, they have been turned into a lightning rod for more division and hurt,” Cox posted on X. “This year, we want to focus even more on that core message of bridge-building and respect — to all in our state and during this month, with an extra focus on those in our community who are LGBTQ and may have felt like they don’t belong here in Utah.”

Whereas, we understand the shared human need for connection, kindness, understanding and friendship;

Whereas, we recognize that a pluralistic society with differing ideas, people and personal beliefs is foundational to the American experience;

Whereas, we recognize that differences between people can, at times, lead to misunderstandings, mistrust and marginalization;

Whereas, June is commonly celebrated and recognized as Pride Month by many LGBTQ Utahns who have experienced marginalization and isolation as a result of their differences;

Whereas, we recognize that there are many Utahns, including those who do not identify with, celebrate or support Pride celebrations, who nevertheless share the experience of being marginalized, rejected or isolated;

Whereas, we seek for Utah to be a place where everyone feels welcome despite profound differences, seeking common ground in cultural values that center on understanding, dignity and mutual respect;

Whereas, in Utah we love our children and we hope to live in such a way that our children will forever love us even if at times we may disagree over deeply-held personal views or beliefs;

Whereas, we appreciate the numerous organizations in the state of Utah that actively promote greater understanding, cooperation, friendship and service;

Whereas, we honor the efforts of many involved with celebrations to build bridges of greater understanding;

Now, therefore, I, Spencer J. Cox, governor of the state of Utah, do hereby declare June 2024 as A Month of Bridge Building

Spencer J. Cox, Governor

Utah Pride Center executive director Chad Call stated that Cox’s proclamation “falls short of addressing the real significance of this month for our community.”

“June is Pride Month — a time when we celebrate our identities, our history, and our resilience,” Call said. “Pride is not simply about building bridges; it is about recognizing and honoring the strength and unity of a marginalized community that has endured and continues to endure significant challenges.”

Call said that bridges are “an important part of infrastructures around the world” — structures that take years and substantial resources to build, or they can be simple bridges that cross small obstacles.

“But in either case, a bridge’s functionality is to move people from one location to another, over what otherwise would be an impassable obstacle,” Call continued. “With that said, we invite our elected government officials to do more than simply work to build the bridge. We invite them, or rather we NEED them, to move across the bridge.”

The declaration was released during a heated Republican primary race for Utah governor. Cox has been notably veering more conservative. In April, Cox still faced boos when he took the stage at the Republican State Nominating Convention, where GOP primary opponent, state Rep. Phil Lyman, ultimately secured over two-thirds of the delegates’ votes.

“Maybe you’re booing me because you hate that I signed the largest tax cut in Utah history. Maybe you hate that I signed constitutional carry into law. Maybe you hate that we ended CRT, DEI, and ESG,” Cox said at the event. “Or maybe you hate that I don’t hate enough.”

In 2017, during a vigil in Salt Lake City for the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting, then-Utah Lt. Gov. Cox gave a moving, tearful speech apologizing to the LGBTQ community for treating them poorly in his early life, and expressing gratitude to them for helping him realize the error of his ways.

“I recognize fully that I am a balding, youngish, middle-aged straight, white, male, Republican politician with all of the expectations and privileges that come with those labels,” Cox said at the rally. “I’m here because yesterday morning, 49 Americans were brutally murdered. … I’m here because those 49 people were gay. I’m here because it shouldn’t matter. But I’m here because it does.”

This year, he is leading a nationwide effort to encourage people to “disagree better” regarding political beliefs.

Ultra-right politicians and pundits have targeted Cox as “worse than Mitt Romney,” working to get Phil Lyman elected governor. A recent poll, however, shows Cox with a commanding lead over Lyman.

In 2023, Cox wrote 78 declarations from Arab American Heritage Month to Utah Native Plant Month.

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