South Dakota Legislature discusses bill regarding gay marriage
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South Dakota Legislature discusses bill regarding gay marriage

The South Dakota Legislature is discussing a bill prohibiting the state from endorsing any form of marriage that doesn’t involve a man and a woman. 

House Bill 1215 was introduced to South Dakota’s House of Representatives on Jan. 30 by the bill sponsor, Rep. Representative Tony Randolph, from Rapid City. 

The bill would prohibit South Dakota from endorsing various policies related to marriage, gender and sexual orientation.

In addition to forbidding the state from recognizing any marriage not of a man and woman, the bill also bans the state from appropriating benefits to anyone who enters such a marriage.

Furthermore, the bill would allow the practice of conversion therapy and would not allow sex change operations to be funded with tax dollars.

USD student Josh Sorbe said the bill was an attack on the LGBTQ+ community in South Dakota.

“(House Bill 1215 is) basically a laundry list of impermissible actions by the state, exuding a ban on having LGBTQ+ people be of protected status, adoption, education,” Sorbe said. “The main focus is removing protections from LGBTQ+ people.”

People in South Dakota wouldn’t be permitted to recognize a person’s who’s gender isn’t associated with their biological sex. People would also not be allowed to change the sex listed on their birth certificate. 

While the legislation doesn’t have any co-sponsors, Sorbe said this bill isn’t a good look for South Dakota. 

“While the piece of legislation itself likely won’t materialize into a passed bill, I do think it’s a continuation of frequent attacks on LGBTQ+ education, adoption, medical services and mental health counseling,” Sorbe said. 

Additionally, the legislation would prohibit public schools and libraries from hosting events such as drag queen story hour and the state from mandating pronoun changes under HB 1215. 

The bill, Sorbe said, still has a long way to go before it could become law. 

“It’s been introduced and read by the house once,” Sorbe said. “It hasn’t been assigned a committee for hearing, so it’s still in a pretty infantile state in the legislative process.”