Curtis Price at Robbinsdale Radical documents the yeas and nays on the regrettable tabling of HB 1144 yesterday. The bipartisan bill would specify that discrimination on the basis of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military status in employment and housing is not cool. Equality SD asks for fairness; the faux family values crowd screams perversion and social collapse, and the Republicans chicken out and table the bill.
In an otherwise mostly sensible interview on Dakota Midday yesterday, new "political junkie" and MDL publisher Jon Hunter unloaded a bonehead comment on HB 1144. He said something about being uneasy with creating all these new legal protections for special groups and worrying that pretty soon public radio will be forced to hire people who can't speak. Jonathan Ellis from that Sioux Falls paper quickly pointed out that HB 1144 really just catches South Dakota up with the times. 44 of South Dakota's 50 largest employers already prohibit discrimination against sexual orientation and/or gender identity, as do SDSU, USD, and various cities, counties, and school districts.
So if Hunter really thinks HB 1144 would take us down some slippery slope, he should realize our biggest employers have already taken us there. Employers like Sanford Health, Citigroup, Larson Manufacturing, 3M, Hy-Vee, Sam's Club, Target, Poet, Qwest, Lewis, and Gehl....
Go ahead, family values crowd. Try boycotting all of those companies. Try getting all of your relatives and neighbors to quit their jobs at those outposts of liberal tyranny.
The Williams Institute at UCLA has a really good report on why legislation like HB 1144 is good for citizens and doesn't cause any of the made-up disadvantages Jon Hunter and other regressives cite. Read it, call your legislators, and let's get HB 1144 back on track!
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