Wednesday, April 6, 2016

UPDATED::South Dakota Bill on Transgender Students’ Bathroom Access Draws Ire - The New York Times

The veto over-ride was unsuccessful, South Dakota House fails to override transgender bill veto 
UPDATE:: South Dakota governor vetoes law on transgender bathrooms
South Dakota‘s governor vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have made the state the first in the U.S. to approve a law requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.
Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who initially reacted positively to the proposal but said he needed to research the issue, rejected the bill after the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign insisted it was discriminatory.
In his veto message, Daugaard said the bill “does not address any pressing issue” and that such decisions were best left to local school officials. He also noted that signing the bill could create costly liability issues for schools and the state. The ACLU had promised to encourage legal action if the bill became law.
Daugaard initially offered a positive reaction to South Dakota‘s proposal, but said he wanted to listen to testimony before making a decision. Last week, he met with three transgender individuals and heard their personal stories; before the meeting, the governor said he had never knowingly met a transgender person.

Opponents said the legislation an attack on vulnerable transgender students that would further marginalize them at school. They also criticized comments made by some lawmakers, including Republican Sen. David Omdahl.
“I’m sorry if you’re so twisted you don’t know who you are,” Omdahl said when asked about the bill last month.

“I’m telling you right now, it’s about protecting the kids, and I don’t even understand where our society is these days.”
Proponents of the legislation say it would help protect children and ensure everyone’s privacy, but its passage has inserted South Dakota into the center of a national debate about transgender rights and access to restrooms and locker rooms.
It is among a number of bills addressing the rights of transgender people that are being pushed by conservative legislators in this state and others. Another South Dakota bill, which was shelved this week, would have required public agencies to accept only information on birth certificates, effectively preventing legal recognition of sex changes.
Mr. Lewis said the bathroom legislation, which was passed by the South Dakota Legislature last week, “creates more stigma,” increases the risk of bullying and sends a message to transgender students: “You’re so different, in a bad way, that you need your own bathroom, your own locker room, your own shower situation.”
The South Dakota legislation would seem to put the state in conflict with the Obama administration’s interpretation of the federal Title IX law, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funds. Mr. Lewis said last week that he would probably continue to use the men’s restroom at school even if Mr. Daugaard signed the bill. Even supporters of the legislation acknowledge that a school district will probably be sued if it becomes law.

South Dakota Bill on Transgender Students’ Bathroom Access Draws Ire - The New York Times

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