South Dakota bills target all LGBTQ rights
Republicans are ramping up attacks against LGBTQ rights with South Dakota bills that would outlaw marriage equality, permanently legalize conversion therapy, among others.
Three anti-LGBTQ bills have been recently brought to the state’s legislature. Experts say that anti-LGBTQ lawmakers and organizers are using the state as a test case for the whole country.
One is House Bill 1057 that would criminalize trans-affirming medical care for minors.
Another is Senate Bill 88, which would require mental health providers to out youth expressing gender dysphoria to their parents.
A third is HB 1215, which explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman and bars counties from issuing marriage licenses to same-gender couples.
HB 1215: A comprehensive bill targeting the LGBTQ
Kara Ingelhart, a staff attorney at Lambda Legal, said HB 1215 in particular is one of the most comprehensive bills to date targeting LGBTQ people.
Ingelhart told NewNowNext: “The principles within are trying to erase LGBTQ people from public life. It’s extreme.”
HB 1215 forbids the recognition of trans and non-binary people as their lived genders and also prohibits county clerks from issuing amended birth certificates.
Likewise, the bill bars public libraries and schools from hosting drag queen story hours while also permanently legalizing the long-debunked practice of gay conversion therapy.
However, this bill is also unconstitutional as it directly contradicts the 2015 Supreme Court ruling that made marriage equality legal nationwide.
LGBTQ groups fighting the South Dakota bills
National LGBTQ organizations are gearing up to battle these bills being pushed by lawmakers.
LGBTQ advocates said HB 1215 is a blatant attempt to send a message to LGBTQ people they are unwelcome in South Dakota.
Cathryn Oakley, senior counsel at Human Rights Campaign, said: “I do think that one of the things that is so important about these bills is that folks are empowered to be able to speak up against them.”
The South Dakota House of Representatives had recently passed HB 1057 last week with a vote of 46-23. If signed into law, doctors who go against the policy could face jail time or fine them up to US$2,000.
HRC president Alphonso David said this is sending “a strong message to trans youth that they are less than their peers and that lawmakers in the Capitol know better than doctors, parents, and trans youth.”
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union’s South Dakota office said the bill was “unconstitutional.”
Protests against the South Dakota bills
Because of the bills, hundreds of people gathered in Sioux Falls to protest against their lawmakers. The protestors first gathered at Nelson Park and then walked to Fawick Park.
The protestors carried signs showing support for the LGBTQ community.
Sabrina Louis, an organizer of the protest, said she wanted to show South Dakota that they care about transgender kids in the state.
“It’s important to take action and speak to your legislators, because if we don’t show our opinions to them then they will assume everything is fine when it’s not,” said Louis.
Democrat and Senate Minority Leader Troy Heinert told ABC News, “This is not who we are. This is not who a majority of Dakotans are.”