South Dakota’s FADA Continues to Move Through the Legislature

This morning at 8:00am CST, the South Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on HB 1107, also known as the Government Nondiscrimination Act. This bill, which already passed the House, is based off of the federal First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). It would allow any individual, business, non-profit entity, or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs that marriage should be recognized only as “the union of one man and one woman” and that “sexual relations are properly reserved to marriage.” 

Even worse, this bill explicitly targets the transgender community by defining “man” and “woman” to mean the “distinct and immutable biological sexes that are determined by anatomy and genetics by the time of birth.” (Sadly, HB 1107 is one of many bills designed to target transgender individuals in the state.)

Under HB 1107, a state-funded domestic violence shelter could turn away a single mother and her child, a homeless shelter receiving taxpayer funding could turn away an LGBT couple, or a hotel could refuse to rent a room to an unmarried couple seeking a place to stay after their car has broken down. In short, it is a dangerous bill that would create real harm for real people in the state.

For more about the reasons we oppose this bill, including that it violates the U.S. Constitution, check out the letter we sent to the members of the Senate Committee.

Unfortunately, South Dakota is not the only state moving a FADA bill. Last week, Virginia’s House passed its version of a FADA, HB 773. And earlier this week, the Virginia Senate General Laws and Technology Committee merged that bill with SB 41, a bill allowing government officials to refuse to solemnize weddings. 

And, of course, Georgia’s Senate just adopted its FADA, HB 757, last Friday. Since then, businesses, including the telecom industry, auto manufacturers, the film industry, have spoken out. So have chambers of commerce, business groups, and editorial boards.

For more information on the status of these FADA bills and other bills, check out our Legislation Tracker.