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BREAKING: South Dakota Governor Vetoes Dangerous Bill Attacking Transgender Children

March 1, 2016

Following meeting with transgender South Dakotans, and his office being flooded with phone calls, emails, letters, and over 80,000 petition signatures, Governor Daugaard does the right thing and stops this legislative assault on transgender kids from becoming law

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to the decision by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard to veto HB 1008 -- outrageous legislation attacking the rights of transgender children in public schools by attempting to force them to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.

“Governor Daugaard chose to do the right thing and veto this outrageous legislation attacking transgender kids. Today, the voices of fairness and equality prevailed, and these students' rights and dignity prevailed against overwhelming odds and vicious opponents in the state legislature,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Unfortunately, another anti-LGBT bill is still pending in the South Dakota Legislature -- and we must keep up the fight to ensure today’s veto holds and this other odious bill never makes it to Governor Daugaard’s desk.”

HRC mobilized its members across South Dakota and the nation to fight back against HB 1008. HRC has also worked closely with local advocates, including the ACLU of South Dakota and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), to try to stop this outrageous bill from becoming law. HRC provided on the ground support, mobilized members and supporters for a community day of action, conducted patch through calls to the governor’s office, and urged fair-minded South Dakotans to speak out against the bill through several action alerts and a robust social media campaign. HRC’s action, along with ACLU of South Dakota and other coalition partners, helped deliver over 80,000 signatures urging the governor to do the right thing and veto HB 1008.

HRC encouraged the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) to speak out, and the ASCA pleaded with the Senate to abandon the bill. As Governor Daugaard contemplated his decision, HRC also worked with seven national child welfare, medical, and education groups -- including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Education Association -- to release an open letter to all of the nation’s governors expressing their grave concerns and objections to this type of legislation.

The profoundly negative impact this dangerous bill would have had on lives of young people and their families would have been completely unacceptable, and the governor’s veto stopped this outrageous attack dead in its tracks. But we have more work to do: other discriminatory bills are still up for consideration in the Mount Rushmore State, and we urge lawmakers to prevent these attacks on fairness and equality from moving any further.”

Before making his decision, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said meeting with transgender South Dakotans "put a human face" on the impact the legislation would have had and helped him to see things “through their eyes.”

HRC is working with the ACLU of South Dakota to keep another extreme bill, HB 1112, from passing. Two other discriminatory proposals in the state, HB 1209 and HB 1107, have been tabled.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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