June 1, 2012 - Madville Times
Journalistic machine David Montgomery beats me to the punch on some surprising backlash against Governor Dennis Daugaard from some deaf activists. The National Association of the Deaf invited Governor Daugaard to speak at their national conference this July on how deaf people can engage more in politics. Our Governor would make a good speaker at such an event: having grown up with two deaf parents, he signs fluently. He may be the most powerful signing elected official in the country.
But GLBT members of the deaf community went ape, citing Governor Daugaard’s support for South Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriage: Read more Here...]]>
The 2012 South Dakota legislative session has ended. Three “gay” bills (one good and the other two bad) were killed and an anti-bullying bill was passed.
The only pro-gay piece of legislation that was introduced was SB 119 which would have allowed municipalities and counties to include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination ordinations. This bill did not receive much attention since it was killed in its first hearing.
The bill that became labeled as "the gay bill" and created controversy did not start out with that intent. SB 141 would have revised the legal definition of domestic abuse to include “partners in an intimate relationship.” The bill sailed through the Senate by 34-0 but ran into the conservative element of the House. Rep. Mark Venner (R-Pierre) amended the bill to restrict domestic abuse as occurring between partners "in an intimate relationship with a person of the opposite sex such as marriage or cohabitation." This amended version passed the House 46-22. SB 141 was sent to a conference committee consisting of 5 women and 1 man. The conference committee struck the opposite sex phase and replaced it with "an intimate relationship such as marriage, dating, or cohabitation." The House refused to accept the wording change and voted to kill the bill by 39-25.
Rep. Shawn Tornow (R-Sioux Falls) stated "I'm not afraid to say. They want to include gay and lesbian relationships" in explaining his vote to kill SB 141.
The anti-bullying bill that finally passed was SB 130. The bill requires all school districts that already have not done so to adopt an anti-bullying policy. Currently there are 12 school districts that still do not have a policy. The bill also stipulates what should be in the policy – cyber bullying is one of the provisions. The bill does not require identifying any protected classes of students.
Another anti-gay bill was the surrogacy bill, HB 1255 was promoted by Rep Roger Hunt (R-Brandon) (the darling of the SD Family Policy Council). This bill consisted of only 2 sentences: A surrogacy agreement is void and unenforceable as against public policy. No surrogacy agreement is enforceable. HB 1244 barely passed the House by 36-34 but was killed in Senate committee by 7-0.
To see how your legislator voted on these bills, go to the South Dakota Legislative Research Council 2012 session page and enter the bill number, then follow links to read the bills and see the voting records on each piece of legislation.]]>
David Lauter - latimes.com - November 3, 2011
Public acceptance of same-sex marriage has grown at an accelerating pace, with approval jumping by nine percentage points in the past two years and the nation now evenly divided on the issue, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released Thursday.
The poll, conducted in late September and early October, showed 46% of Americans surveyed support legalizing same-sex marriage and 44% are opposed. The survey among 2,410 adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
It is one of several released this year showing the public evenly divided or very narrowly favoring same-sex marriage rights.
Read more Here...
published - inforum/Fargo/Moorhead - 10/06/2011 - Don Davis
ST. PAUL – Some well-known Minnesota Republicans announced Thursday that they will fight the proposed anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, a proposal their party strongly supports.
“I’m Republican because I believe in individual liberty and freedom,” Rep. John Kriesel said. “I believe this is an attack on that.”
The Cottage Grove lawmaker famously was one of four state House Republicans to vote last May against putting the issue on the November 2012 ballot. He and the other Republicans said Thursday the state constitution should not be amended with such a provision.
“I am against adding things to the constitution willy-nilly,” Kriesel said.
The best-known Republican to say he will fight the amendment is 85-year-old Wheelock Whitney, who long has been a visible GOP supporter and has run for statewide office. On Thursday, the businessman announced he donated $10,000 to defeat the amendment and will solicit more contributions.
Whitney, who has a gay son and a gay grandson, said there is nothing in his Republican bones to support banning a marriage.
Read more Here...
Argus Leader - Beth Wischmeyer - Sept. 28, 2011
Federal prosecutors say hate crimes inflict great harm against society, and a recently passed act helps further ensure the safety and civil rights of Americans.
U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Koliner held an information session Wednesday in Sioux Falls about the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in late 2009.
"It's a very important piece of federal legislation that, in my view, was kind of passed with a whisper in late 2009," Koliner said. "This was really an act that took 20 years of hard work of various, very brave legislators to get this passed."
Read more Here...]]>
(Harrisburg, Pa.) A female sergeant who was discharged from the Air Force last year after South Dakota police reported her marriage to a woman wants to re-enlist now that the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in uniform has been lifted.
Jene Newsome said Wednesday that she’s happy the ban has been lifted and that she’s eager to restart her military career. But she also feels as though the sense of jubilation she would have felt by serving in the military when the ban was lifted was stolen from her.
“Just to have that liberation, and just to be able to celebrate and come out to your co-workers, and … not refer to my wife as my friend when I’m around some of my co-workers or at events for the military,” Newsome said.
Read more Here...
by Nathaniel Frank - 09/20/2011 - The Huffington Post
Today marks the official end of the eighteen-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy and, in a sense, the end of a 233-year-old American shame, as formal anti-gay discrimination in our armed forces is older than the nation itself. As someone who worked to end this policy for more than a decade, I will join with countless other advocates of equality in celebrating this day as a watershed in our nation's long march toward justice.
Yet it's critical that we not rest on our laurels. Some of the most troubling instincts that lay behind this odious law remain a threat to the freedoms not only of gay people but of every American. My fear as I celebrate the passing of the military's anti-gay exclusion, along with other gains in gay rights, is that these victories may sap the energy that still has the best shot at fighting not only discrimination, but other base instincts in American life that continue to hold us back from reaching our greatest potential.
What do I mean by this? What are the attitudes and beliefs that propped up the gay ban and threaten to continue their infection of American freedom?
Find out Here...
by Derek Olson - 09/12/2011 - www.keloland.com
RAPID CITY, SD - Most city council elections don't attract much attention. But the race to fill a vacant city council seat in Rapid City is in the spotlight.
One of the candidates in the race is Marla Murphy. If that name sounds familiar, this isn't the first time that Murphy has been in the public spotlight. She served on the city council from 2000 to 2005 as Tom Murphy. After news of her transition became public, she left office. Now she hopes that people's attitudes have changed.
When a seat on the city council of Rapid City opened up after Sam Kooiker became mayor, Marla Murphy decided to throw her hat in the ring.
View or Read this story Here...
Rev. Wesley B. Garcia - 09/09/2011 - ArgusLeader.com
This past May, I had the pleasure to attend a pastors' conference in Washington, D.C., on human rights issues. This was not about human rights issues in developing nations or Third World countries, but right here in the U.S. It is hard to believe that there are human rights issues that have not been addressed and corrected after the various movements starting in the late 1950s and throughout the end of the 20th century.
Pastors from all 50 states and all major denominations, more than 300 in all, looked at, understood and made a public stand on what we learned. We also met with all elected members of Congress or their staff to ask that this disparity on how we treat some individuals as less than complete persons can be corrected.
As a pastor, I look to how Christ treated people that he came in contact with. The recorded encounters are with individuals that by today's standards would be considered outcasts of society. Christ treated each individual with respect and understanding. After all, all human beings have been created in the image of our creator. Because of this, no one should be treated as less than a complete person.
So, why is it, then, that we find it so easy to deny a large group of people equal rights because they happen to be members of the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender) community? Some Christians will point out the passage in Leviticus as the reason.]]>
When Freddie Magnavito married his partner, Dan, in the Black Forest Inn near Rapid City in 2006, it was one of the first same-sex weddings in the Black Hills.
"A lot of folks had never experienced that or seen a same-sex wedding," said Freddie's mother, Sandy Magnavito. "I thought it was eye-opening. He had a lot of support from people around the city."
Because South Dakota does not allow same-sex marriages, the ceremony was symbolic and has no legal standing. Since that time, the couple has moved to the state of Washington, but the Rapid City community and South Dakota have continued to become more open to the concept.
In fact, in South Dakota, 1,390 couples identified themselves as same sex, according to new figures from 2010 Census. That is up from 826 in 2000. Rapid City also saw numbers more than double in 10 years, to 140 from 59 couples that registered as same-sex in the census.
Read more Here...
For access to the Williams Institue School of Law report as noted in the article which relates to South Dakota is available at: UCLA School of Law]]>