It’s evident that South Dakota as a government is against the LGBTQ+ community and they continue to show their disdain by creating legislation directly attacking their rights.
House Bill 1215 was introduced last week and aims to strip rights from the LGBTQ+ community. One of the most controversial policies is not recognizing gay marriage, which would be defying the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision.
The first line of the bill states “The state may not enforce, endorse, or favor policies that permit any form of marriage that does not involve a man and a woman.” It’s hard to understand why Republican lawmaker Tony Randolph would write a bill like this when there are real problems affecting those living in South Dakota like the opioid epidemic, poverty and more that need to be dealt with.
The bill also wants to make it illegal to ban conversion therapy, something proven to be detrimental to the mental health of teens and children. The American Psychological Association found “distress and depression were exacerbated” when going through conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy is also not science-based, instead it’s typically backed by religious groups who see homosexuality as a sin or moral failing. It doesn’t make sense to subject a child to “treatment” that isn’t backed by science and causes harm. Conversion therapy is dangerous and shouldn’t be supported by the government.
HB 1215 plans not to allow a person to “change the sex on a birth certificate to a sex that does not accord with that person’s anatomy at birth” which will directly affect transgender people in the state. The bill also states it won’t recognize someone who identifies differently than the sex they were at birth.
This bill slams the entire LGBTQ+ community for no legitimate reason. Are LGBTQ+ people no longer citizens and constituents in the eyes of the South Dakota legislature? Why are we taking a step back on all the progress that has been done in the past decade?
Also, why would someone write a bill that doesn’t have a chance passing since it’s unconstitutional?
Wasn’t it already embarrassing enough the state approved a campaign describing how everyone in the state is on meth? Our government needs to take a break and come back with ideas that don’t make us the laughing stock of the entire country.
HB 1215 is a waste of time, ink and paper and shouldn’t have been introduced. It’s incredibly disrespectful. The legislature needs to do some actual work to improve the lives of thousands of South Dakotans.