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South Dakota Governor Signs Bill Into Law Allowing Public Agencies To Deny Services To LGBT Citizens

South Dakota has become the first state in 2017 to sign an anti-LGBT piece of legislation into law.

Senate Bill (SB) 149 has added taxpayer-funded discrimination into state law by allowing state-funded adoption and foster care agencies to reject qualified, prospective LGBTQ adoptive or foster parents based on the agency’s purported religious beliefs.

Washington Blade:

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed into law a measure allowing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to deny services and child placement to LGBT families out of religious objections, making him the first governor in 2017 to sign an anti-LGBT law. Daaugard signed the measure, Senate Bill 149, with little fanfare Friday after the Republican-controlled legislature approved it by significant margins. The new law prohibits the state from taking adverse action against child placement agencies that discriminate against LGBT families, including the elimination of tax-exemptions, the imposition of fines, the cancellation of contracts or discrimination against the agency in a state benefit program.

The ACLU has issues a statement:

The American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota has led the opposition to SB 149 through both lobbying efforts and by organizing affected communities. In a state facing a labor and talent shortage, this bill has sparked national interest and local questions as to whether South Dakota welcomes diversity and values the rights of individual citizens.

This bill was opposed by local and national child welfare experts that sent letters in opposition including The Adoption Exchange, Child Welfare League of America, National Association of Social Workers, and Voice for Adoption, as well as family law experts, South Dakota pediatricians, and local and national LGBT rights organizations including the Movement Advancement Project, the Human Rights Campaign, and more.

“We’re deeply disappointed by Governor Daugaard’s decision to green light Senate Bill 149. This discriminatory legislation takes South Dakota in the wrong direction, and sends the message that our leaders are more concerned with the desires of religious agencies than the rights of individuals and children in our state,” said Libby Skarin, Policy Director of the ACLU of South Dakota.

The small minded people in the state have no problem seeing their tax dollars spent to defend statutes that simply do not pass constitutional muster.

I’d say #BoycottSouthDakota. But there is nothing to boycott.

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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