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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 4, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 10
South Dakota governor vetoes anti-Trans bathroom bill

Another anti-Trans bill still pending
Section One
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South Dakota governor vetoes anti-Trans bathroom bill

Another anti-Trans bill still pending

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has vetoed a bill that would have barred Transgender students from using restrooms appropriate to their gender identity.

Daugaard's March 1 veto sets him against fellow Republicans in the state legislature who passed the measure in opposition to new federal guidelines protecting the rights of Trans students.

On the other hand, the governor's action puts him on the same side as national business groups who pressed him to reject the bill.

According to BuzzFeed, Daugaard's veto could be overridden in the state House, where it passed 58-10, but probably not in the Senate, where three lawmakers would have to flip their votes to get the necessary two-thirds majority.

The national Equality Federation, a coalition of state and local LGBT rights groups, said it is tracking dozens of anti-Transgender bills across the nation, and the South Dakota bill would have been the first one signed into law, had Daugaard not vetoed it.

'Thank you Governor Daugaard for meeting with transgender people to see through their eyes that they are our friends, family, and neighbors, worthy of the same fair treatment and dignity as everyone else,' Equality Federation Executive Director Rebecca Isaacs said in a statement.

'The more people get to know about the real lives of transgender people, the more empathy prevails. All students, including transgender students, should be able to fully participate and have a fair opportunity to thrive in school.'

Other human rights groups also hailed the governor's decision.

'Governor Daugaard's decision will place him unequivocally on the right side of history,' said Chase Strangio, staff attorney with the ACLU's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project.

'Federal law is clear that transgender students are protected under Title IX and the governor's veto prevents costly investigations into school districts across South Dakota. Hopefully this important action by Governor Daugaard will allow the state and other states across the country to continue to invest in the safety of all students instead of singling out a vulnerable few for isolation and discrimination.'

'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.'

In its statement, Lambda Legal expanded on HRC's theme.

'The South Dakota Legislature now needs to stop House Bill 1112, which would exclude all transgender young people from participating in high school sports and activities by tying participation to the sex listed on a young person's birth certificate, rather than their gender identity,' Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Kyle Palazzolo said in a statement.

'Like House Bill 1008 [the bathroom bill], 1112 singles out transgender young people for discrimination rather than embracing them at a time that they need our support the most.

'While we applaud the Governor's action today, we know that work remains not only in defeating other hateful, discriminatory laws targeting LGBT people throughout the country, but also in expanding nondiscrimination protections for all members of our community.'

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