South Dakota Governor Latest Republican Leader to Dismiss Need for Anti-Transgender Legislation

By Adam Polaski • January 12, 2017 • 1:48 pm

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota said there is no need to revive last year’s ill-fated legislation to ban transgender individuals from using the restroom that matches their gender identity.

“It is a solution in search of a problem,” Daugaard told Argus Leader Media on Monday.

In 2016, Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have prohibited students from using the restroom that matches the gender they live as every day. The proposed measure had been met with an onslaught of public opposition from leaders in business, tourism, and health, as well as educators, public safety officers, members of the clergy and legal experts from across South Dakota and the nation.

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said this week:

“We are pleased that Gov. Daugaard remains committed to stopping this type of dangerous legislation from ever becoming law. The governor made the right decision last year to refuse legalizing discrimination against transgender people, especially vulnerable students.”

While Daugaard stopped anti-transgender legislation from becoming law, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory did not heed the public’s advice, and signed into law HB 2, the most virulently anti-LGBT law in the nation. Amongst other things, the law bans transgender individuals from using the restroom in public schools, universities, and government buildings.

Since becoming law, HB 2 has cost the state thousands of jobs, and nearly $1 billion in economic investments. Sports organizations, including the NBA, NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference pulled major sporting events from the state.

Other states that passed anti-LGBT legislation in the past, including Indiana and Mississippi, have also seen their economies take a hit for legalizing discrimination.

“It’s clear that Gov. Daugaard’s leadership saved South Dakota’s economy from losing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars,” McTighe added. “We hope that legislators will follow his lead, and stop any discriminatory legislation that might be introduced.”

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