Today, House lawmakers voted to advance legislation that would ban transgender people from obtaining birth certificates that accurately reflect their identity. The bill initially died in its first hearing Tuesday morning but was revived through a legislative procedure known as a “smoke out.”
The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill 1076. Forcing transgender South Dakotans to go through life with inaccurate birth certificates – a basic form of identification and essential government document – unnecessarily exposes them to discrimination, harassment and violence and would mean trans people would be forced to disclose their trans identity when accessing essential needs. This violates the rights of trans people to privacy, freedom of speech and equal protection under the Constitution. Similar bans have been struck down all across the country.
“House Bill 1076 is not about accurate vital records or judges struggling with uniform decision making. It is a thinly veiled attempt to discriminate against transgender South Dakotans,” said Jett Jonelis, ACLU of South Dakota advocacy manager. “South Dakota needs to comply with the Constitution’s promise that all people have a right to equal protection of the laws and to live freely and openly in society as who they are. Transgender people born in South Dakota have the right to obtain a birth certificate that accurately reflects who they are.”
House Bill 1076 continues the streak of bills that would codify discrimination against transgender people that the South Dakota Legislature has attempted to pass over the last six years.
“It's time to stop these attacks on transgender South Dakotans and focus on issues that really matter to the people of our state,” Jonelis said.