Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, decried the unconscionable decision by South Dakota lawmakers to move forward two more pieces of discriminatory legislation targeting LGBT South Dakotans, HB 1112 and HB 1107. Both passed through the House State Affairs committee today by a vote of 10 to 3, HB 1112 could ban transgender students from participating in athletic activities consistent with their gender identity and HB 1107 seeks to explicitly authorize taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT South Dakotans and single mothers.
“Fairness and equality are under attack in South Dakota,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “Both of these pieces of legislation shamefully passed today by the House State Affairs committee are dangerously far-reaching and would have severe consequences, not just for LGBT South Dakotans and their families, but for the entire Mount Rushmore State. Fair-minded people across the state must stand up and demand their lawmakers stop these extreme, discriminatory measures.”
HB 1107 would explicitly authorize recipients of taxpayer funds or other state recognition to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and single mothers.
HB 1112 would directly override the authority of the South Dakota High School Activities Association and make any “transgender policy” adopted by the Association subject to consent of the Legislature. It also declares void the existing policy adopted by the Association, which allows transgender students to participate in athletic activities consistent with their gender identity.
HB 1112 is the second piece of legislation moving forward in South Dakota that specifically targets transgender students. Last week by a vote of 58 to 10, the South Dakota House of Representatives passed HB 1008 – extreme legislation seeking to prevent transgender students in public schools from using sex-segregated facilities consistent with their gender identity and putting state law in direct conflict with the U.S. Department of Education. Putting South Dakota school districts at risk of losing federal funds under Title IX, the discriminatory HB 1008 would force public schools to pay the costs of legal challenges and force them into an untenable position of choosing between state and federal law. It would also tie the hands of school administrators and teachers who would no longer have the flexibility they need to find workable solutions in coordination with transgender students and their parents.
The extreme measures in South Dakota are part of an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed by anti-equality activists around the country in 2016. To date, HRC is tracking 150 anti-LGBT bills in 30 states. These range from legislation attempting to undermine marriage equality; proposals aimed to authorize individuals, businesses, and taxpayer-funded agencies to cite religion as a legal reason to refuse goods or services to LGBT people; bills seeking to restrict or criminalize transgender people who use facilities consistent with their gender identity; and even legislation aimed at eliminating the ability of local governments to protect LGBT residents and visitors. For more information, visit: www.hrc.org/
Working to stop such reckless and discriminatory legislation, HRC is proud to be fighting alongside local advocates at the ACLU of South Dakota to ensure LGBT residents and visitors across the Mount Rushmore State are treated with dignity and respect.