PIERRE, South Dakota, February 18, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – In a first for the U.S., a state legislature has passed a bill that bans transgender students from using a bathroom of the opposite sex and requires schools to have “reasonable accommodation” for transgender students through single-person bathrooms and locker rooms, among other methods.
The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Dennis Daugaard, who the Argus Leader reports has indicated support for the bill even as he has declined to take a formal position. Daugaard expressed theoretical support in January but has more recently said he needs to better understand arguments on both sides.
The bill passed the state Senate 20-15 this week. While opponents say it would promote and legalize discrimination, supporters have argued that it is protection against the Obama administration's efforts to blackmail school districts into opening up sex-specific bathrooms, locker rooms, and other facilities to people of the opposite sex.
It is also seen as protection against causing damage to young people, with state Senator David Omdahl, a Republican, encouraging his colleagues to back the bill to “preserve the innocence of our young people.”
Bathroom bills have been debated in numerous states, usually in response to lawsuits threatened by students who say their actual sex is not the one into which they were born.