PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Republican State Representative Fred Deutsch (R-Florence) is leading another bill related to the state’s transgender and LGBTQ population. Similar to what he did in some prior years including in 2020.
This year it’s a bill to prohibit a transgender person from changing the sex on a birth certificate to align with their sex. Advocates for changing the birth certificate describe the change as a correction and not a change.
Protestors from the LGBTQ community were at the Capitol in Pierre today before HB 1076 was to discuss the House Health and Human Services Committee. The House committee voted 7-6 to reject HB 1076 that would restrict amendments to birth certificates to the first year in South Dakota. The full House could still consider it after a procedural move.
Deutsch told KELOLAND News in a Jan. 22 story that the House Bill 1076 was about fixing a lack of clarity.
“There’s a problem with the courts in South Dakota interpreting sex differently, some courts grant the benefit to change sex on a birth certificate and others deny it,” Deutsch said.
But if the proposed bill is passed in both the House and Senate, it seems that it could lead to lawsuits.
Opponents say HB 1076 would discriminate against transgender individuals as the LGBTQ community as a whole.
The Movement Advancement Project, a non-profit created in 2006, rates states on their equality related to the LGBTQ community and provides information on the LGBTQ population in states.
MAP said Gallup and Williams survey polls show that 3% of the state’s population was LGBTQ in 2019. In 2020, 3% or 15,000 people, of the workforce was from the LGBTQ population. in 2020, according to Williams and the Census. And both Gallup and Williams say 29% of adults over 25 raising children in 2019 were LGBTQ.
States have implemented laws similar to the HB 1076 bill in South Dakota. Lawsuits were filed in some of those states.
On Dec. 16, 2020, a federal judge struck down an Ohio law that prohibited transgender individuals from changing the sex on a birth certificate. The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Similar lawsuits have been filed in Idaho and Tennessee.
The Tennessee Vital Statistics Act prevents transgender individuals from changing the sex on their birth certificates.
The proposed law in South Dakota cites accuracy of vital statistics as one reason to prohibit changing the sex on birth certificates. “Allowing persons to have their vital records, including birth certificates, altered, in accordance with their subjective identification or feelings about their sex undermines the government’s compelling interest in maintaining accurate vital records…,” HB 1076 says.
According to the Transgender Law Center, most states allow for changes in the sex in birth certificates. Some require a doctor’s letter and/or the completion of a surgery In Iowa, a doctor’s letter is required but surgery may not be required. In Minnesota, a doctor’s letter is required but surgery is not required.
South Dakota has a recent history of addressing bills that focus on the transgender and LGBT community.
In early 2020, a proposal to stop doctors in the state from providing puberty blockers and gender confirmation surgery to transgender children under 16 passed the House but failed in the Senate.
Opponents said the proposed law interferred in family, patient and doctor relationships.
The South Dakota State Medical Association opposed the bill, arguing it discriminated against transgender people and interfered with physicians’ ability to administer necessary medical treatment.
Supporters said it was aimed at protecting vulnerable youth.
The bill sparked controversary and criticism including some from those in the state’s business community who said the bill was harmful to the state.
In early 2016, Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a transgender bathroom bill bill that would have required students to use the bathroom associated with their sex at birth.
Also in 2020, Republican State Sen. Tony Randolph introduced a bill that would prohibit the state from enforcing, endorsing or favoring policies that cover a range of activities that involve members of the LGBTQ community. The bill wanted the state to not enforce, endorse and favor policies that allow same-sex marriage, policies that allow counties to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and policies that prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Randolph withdrew the bill in February, according to state legislative records.
The recent history of bills that impact the LGBTQ community has drawn the attention of national media and groups.
MAP rates states on sexual orientation and gender identity policies. South Dakota rates low in sexual orientation policies. It rates a negative 2.5 on gender identity policies. Overall, the state has a negative 2.5 rating out of a possible score of 38.5. It is one of nine states to have a negative overall rating for policies.
South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas are the other eight states with negative ratings.
Minnesota rates high and Iowa receives a medium rate. North Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming all have low rates.