In the wacky world of modern American politics, it’s hard to find a more conservative Republican state that South Dakota. In the home state of the late George McGovern, every statewide elected official is now a Republican and the GOP holds overwhelming legislative majorities. If there’s a right-wing social or economic issue to be advanced, South Dakota is your place.
And, yet, despite this, check out this item from this morning’s headlines:
South Dakota Governor Vetoes Law on Transgender Bathrooms
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.
Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who initially reacted positively to the proposal but said he needed to research the issue, rejected the bill after groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign insisted it was discriminatory.
In his veto message, Daugaard said the bill ‘does not address any pressing issue’ and that such decisions were best left to local school officials. He also noted that signing the bill could create costly liability issues for schools and the state. The ACLU had promised to encourage legal action if the bill became law.
‘I am so happy right now. You have no idea,’ said 18-year-old Thomas Lewis, a transgender high school student in Sioux Falls. Lewis said he has support at his school, but that the veto shows such support goes beyond his friends.
‘The government’s not going to hold me back from who I really am,’ he said.
Let’s fervently hope that Pat McCrory, Phil Berger and Tim Moore are paying attention. Maybe, having gotten their red meat, base-appeasing headlines by raising a ruckus about Charlotte’s new anti-discrimination ordinance, they too can see now that it too does not address any pressing state issue.