Update: South Dakota’s governor vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have made the state the first in the U.S. to approve a law requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their sex at birth.
Today is decision day for South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who must decide whether or not to veto a bill which would make his state the first in the country to ban transgender students from using the bathroom that most conforms to their gender identity.
“We’ve just had a very rapid culture change…It’s hard for me to fathom,” said state Rep. Fred Deutsch (R), the South Dakota lawmaker who sponsored the transgender bill, which national child-welfare and LGBT rights groups decry as “a bigoted attack on vulnerable children.”
And South Dakota is no outlier. Thirteen other states are now considering similar restrictions including states known for their liberal politics such as Washington. Conservatives, and others who support these anti-trans measures, hope to convince the larger public that this is part of some leftist homosexual agenda; one that many feel reached its zenith with the Supreme Court decision to legalize same sex marriage in 2015.
For his part. Gov Daugaard has not tipped his hand, only to say that he has met with people from both sides of the issue.
His goal, he argues, is to get as much information as possible before he makes a decision he realized will have an enormous impact regardless of how he rules. “Deutsch said that he is sympathetic to transgender students and believes gender dysphoria is a “very real thing” but that the government has a duty to protect the privacy of all students.”
Cathryn Oakley, a senior legislative counsel for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), points out that the very public rise of Caitlyn Jenner has forced a national dialog in the kitchens of average Americans. As a result of these ongoing dialogs, the issue is “ushering in greater acceptance in some corners and a counter-reaction in others.”
For its part, the U.S. Department of Education ruled in 2014 that transgender discrimination is a violation of Title IX, a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.
Some school districts would rather force transgender students to use the bathroom of the current gender than accept the millions of dollars that come from the DOE.
If the governor fails to act, the law will automatically go into effect.
Ironically, many LGBTQ activists and legal scholars now believe that discrimination based on sex (i.e. gender) may pave the way for many future legal battles where sexual orientation is lacking.