South Dakota is a governor’s signature away from becoming the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring transgender students to use the bathrooms that correspond to the gender they were born with, rather than the one they identify with or choose.
The governor, Republican Dennis Daugaard, has already signaled his approval for the measure, but will listen to some recorded testimony before making up his mind and signing it into law, the Argus Leader reported. The state Senate passed it with a 20-15 vote just this week.
The bill requires transgender students who don’t want to use the bathrooms that correspond to their biological birth genders to seek an accommodation – a separate facility – via a letter to school-district officials.
Rep. Fred Deutsch, who authored the bill, said the measure is aimed at upholding the federal government’s recent requirement for schools to put in place accommodations for transgenders, while simultaneously respecting privacy rights of all students.
And while opponents say the bill’s implementation could prove costly, Christian and family-values groups are cheering.
“This is such the right thing to do to protect all of our students,” said Dale Bartscher, a spokesman for Family Heritage Alliance Action, the Argus Leader reported. “It’s a privacy bill, it’s a modesty bill, it’s sensible South Dakota common sense.”