FORWARD: South Dakota House Sustains Governor’s Veto of Anti-Transgender Bill

By Adam Polaski • March 3, 2016 • 2:59 pm

Today, March 3, the South Dakota House of Representatives voted to sustain Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s veto of House Bill 1008, invasive legislation that would have irreparably harmed transgender children in the state. The bill singled out transgender students for discrimination by prohibiting them from using the restroom that matches the gender they live as everyday. If it had passed, it would have been the first law of its kind anywhere in the United States.


Matt McTighe, Executive Director of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement following the vote:

“Governor Daugaard showed tremendous leadership and did the right thing when he vetoed this dangerous legislation – and we are pleased the House sustained his veto. This bill was not only discriminatory to transgender students, but would have put the safety and privacy of all students at risk.”

For the past few weeks, Freedom for All Americans has been mobilizing opposition to the anti-LGBT bill with our state and national partners, including the ACLU of South Dakota. Freedom for All Americans supported lobbyists on the ground in South Dakota, provided strategic communications guidance and digital content, and channeled thousands of messages to the governor urging him to veto through its States Action Team.

Clearly, the correct perception that the bill – which was so broadly written and such a gross violation of privacy that it could conceivably have required public school administrators to visually inspect students’ genders, or required students to carry their birth certificate as a condition for using the restroom – changed the conversation, and vote count, in South Dakota. The bill passed 58-10 in January, but today’s vote to sustain the veto was flipped, 36-29.

Now with the bill fully dead, it’s time to keep pushing forward in South Dakota and beyond – it’s great that anti-LGBT bills have not advanced, but the reality is that LGBT South Dakotans still lack any statewide non-discrimination protections. It’s time for that to change.

Congratulations to the many activists, businesses, and lawmakers who worked on defeating this heinous legislation. Take a look at this video that Freedom for All Americans produced tracking the governor’s own journey – and the power of transgender people sharing their stories – this week:


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