We recently covered the attempts by conservative lawmakers in Virginia to pass restrictive bathroom laws that would make it illegal for transgender students to use anything but the facilities of the gender they were assigned at birth. On the one hand, it's unfortunate that these bills are spreading accross the country, with more states attempting to pass similar restrictions, thus making the lives of transgender men and women even harder. On the other hand, it's nice to see some politicians flat-out reject these proposed new rules, as South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard did just yesterday.
Despite his progressive decision it doesn't sound like Gov. Daugaard is exactly pro-LGBT. From Gawker: "The governor met with trans students and with conservative lawmakers who supported the bill before making his decision. It seems improbable that Daugaard, a Republican who fought against gay marriage and supported a ballot measure that would have banned abortion outright in his state, had a sudden change of heart about civil rights. Much more likely is that he wanted to avoid a legal battle with the federal government, which holds that restricting bathroom access violates federal sex discrimination laws."
“Instead of encouraging local solutions, this bill broadly regulates in a manner that invites conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of this state,” Daugaard wrote in a statement to state legislators.
If this bill had passed, South Dakota would have become the only state to have successfully gone through with these proposed measures. That being said, many South Dakotan politicians still plan on trying this all over again in the near future. “I’ve talked to legislators from many states who want to do something similar to this,” Fred Deutsch, the lawmaker who introduced the bill said to the New York Times.