Photo Credits: LGBTQ Nation
At the beginning of this year, House Bill 1215 was introduced by South Dakota's legislature and this bill is one of the most comprehensive and retrogressive anti-LGBTQ bills in recent history. Among other anti-LGBTQ measures, it would outlaw marriage equality, permanently legalize gay conversion therapy, ban changes to legal gender markers, and block the passage of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. Almost every aspect of LGBTQ life is covered by this bill in a negative way by restrictions, bans and blocking. This is not the only anti-LGBTQ bill brought to the South Dakota's legislature this month. The House also passed a bill HB 1057 that would criminalize trans-affirming medical care for minors and the Senate Bill 88 would require mental health providers to out kids expressing gender dysphoria to their parents. The state is seen as ground zero for anti-trans legislation and it seems that it is used as a test case for the whole nation.
According to Patheos, HB 1215 is aiming to block the state to enforce, endorse, or favor policies that: permit any form of marriage that does not involve a man and a woman, permit counties to issue marriage licenses to persons other than for a marriage involving a man and a woman, treat sexual orientation as a suspect class or as a basis of prohibited discrimination, appropriate tax dollars to pay for sex change operations, ban conversion therapy, permit public libraries or public schools in the state to partner with nonsecular organizations to promote, host, sponsor, favor, or endorse drag queen story time, condone or affirm homosexual, transgender, zoophilia, objectophilia, polygamy, or sexual orientation doctrines, etc.
HB 1215 is a direct attack on the rights of LGBTQ people and there are some extremely disturbing parts of this bill; like the one where homosexual and transgender rights are put together with zoophilia or objectophilia, probably with an idea to put an equality sign between those. This is why The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota has already arranged a petition against HB 1057 and action against HB 1215 is to be forthcoming. ACLU policy director Libby Skarin says, as Patheos reports, that the law is simply too deeply bigoted to survive: Marriage equality is the law of the land in South Dakota and the entire nation, no matter what half-baked legal theories anti-LGBTQ lawmakers try to put forward. This bill is further proof that some South Dakota legislators remain committed to discriminating against LGBTQ people and their families. South Dakota lawmakers cannot defy the U.S. Supreme Court based on their extreme personal views.