Press Releases:

South Dakota House of Representatives Passes Extreme Bill Authorizing Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination

February 9, 2016

The extreme and far-reaching measure is the second piece of anti-LGBT legislation passed through the chamber this year

WASHINGTON – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, condemned a vote last night by the South Dakota House of Representatives on yet another extreme measure attacking LGBT South Dakotans. By a vote of 46 to 10, the chamber passed HB 1107 – legislation that would explicitly authorize recipients of taxpayer funds or other state recognition to discriminate against same-sex couples, transgender people, and single mothers.

HB 1107 is the second piece of anti-LGBT legislation that the South Dakota House of Representatives has passed this year. Just last month, the House passed HB 1008 – a deplorable attempt to prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.

“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. “With far-reaching implications, HB 1107 would explicitly authorize taxpayer-funded discrimination against same-sex couples, transgender South Dakotans, and single mothers. This deplorable attack on basic fairness and equality must be stopped, and we call on the state’s Senators to block both of the anti-LGBT bills passed by the House before they threaten the rights and dignity of the state’s LGBT residents and visitors, and jeopardize South Dakota’s reputation and economic prospects.”

Disguised as an attempt to protect religious beliefs, HB 1107 would authorize any “individual, corporation, company, sole proprietorship, partnership, society, club, organization, or association” to wield religion as a sword of discrimination against same-sex couples, transgender people, and single mothers without losing taxpayer funding, contracts, licensing, employment, or other forms of state recognition.  Taxpayer-funded adoption agencies could refuse to act in the best interest of children if it means placing them in the loving and committed homes of LGBT couples. Single mothers could be denied help from taxpayer-funded charities. Therapists who have lost their licences because they practice abusive “conversion therapy” on transgender kids or who shame the child of gay parents would still be recognized as licensed by the state. The reckless consequences could be dangerously far reaching.

Working to stop such 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.

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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