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South Dakota governor vetoes anti-transgender bathroom bill

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South Dakota’s governor has vetoed a bill that would have banned transgender students from using bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity.

Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed the bill Tuesday after increasing pressure from LGBT advocates, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign.

There were also fears that the state would lose federal education funding, as the policy would have conflicted with Obama’s Title IX anti-discrimination law related to education.

House Bill 1008, which stated that every public school bathroom and locker room should be used “only by students of the same biological sex,” had been passed by the state Senate and House of Representatives before it was sent to the governor for approval.

The bill’s backers had claimed that it would protect student’s privacy and safety from transgender students, but Dennis countered in a veto letter that local schools should be left to address such situations individually.

According to BuzzFeed, he wrote: “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.

“Local school districts can, and have, made necessary restroom and locker room accommodations that serve the best interests of all students, regardless of biological sex or gender identity.”

Dennis had previously been called upon by transgender icons Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner to veto the bill, which was criticised for attacking vulnerable trans students who are already prone to exclusion and harassment.

Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said the governor’s rejection of the bill was “the right thing.”

He explained: “Today, the voices of fairness and equality prevailed, and these students’ rights and dignity prevailed against overwhelming odds and vicious opponents in the state Legislature.”

Words Florence Breitstadt

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