Wednesday, March 30, 2016

South Dakota Lawmakers Double Down on Anti-LGBT Discrimination |

South Dakota is making a name for itself as what may be America’s most anti-LGBT state. The Senate Education Committee today passed a new bathroom bill that would adversely impact transgender students. But that was just one measure in a week full of anti-LGBT actions by state lawmakers.

On Monday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1107, which the Human Rights Campaign called “extreme” legislation that if signed into law would authorize recipients of taxpayer funds to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and single mothers. Specifically, it would prevent the state from taking any punitive action against any entity that discriminates because of religious beliefs about sexuality, gender, and marriage.

The bill, titled “An Act to ensure government nondiscrimination in matters of religious beliefs and moral convictions,”was “disguised as an attempt to protect religious beliefs,” according to HRC.

“Anti-equality lawmakers in the South Dakota House of Representatives are sending a shameful message of intolerance and discrimination in the Mount Rushmore State,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow in a statement on HRC’s website.
Also Monday, a Republican state senator told constituents at a forum in Sioux Falls he considered trans people to be “psychologically damaged,” according to Fusion. Sen. David Omdahl spoke in support of the bill to “restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools” so that trans students would not be allowed to use the facilities that match their gender identity.

“I’m sorry if you’re so twisted you don’t even know who you are,” he said, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, “A lot of people are — and I’m telling you right now, it’s about protecting the kids.”

That bill, House Bill 1008, was denounced by HRC as “a vehemently discriminatory bill that would make the state the first in the nation to pass a law attacking transgender children.”

South Dakota Lawmakers Double Down on Anti-LGBT Discrimination |

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