Gov. Veto Demonstrates Power Of Taking A Stand

The Center for Equality says the battle was long, but it was worth the fight

Opponents called it the ‘Transgender Bathroom Bill’, while supporters called it the ‘Student Privacy Act’.

But what you can’t call it is a law.

Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed House Bill 1008 late Tuesday afternoon after it was passed by both the house and senate; which the Center for Equality says is a huge relief.

They say it was a battle to get this veto, but it was worth the fight.

“I was sitting at my dining room table, I jumped off my chair and screamed,” says Ashley Joubert-Gaddis, the operations director at the Center for Equality, talking about her reaction when she found out the Governor vetoed the bill. “My husband wasn’t sure if the scream was good or bad, and then I did the ugly cry.” 

Which were tears of joy says Joubert-Gaddis.

She says it was a long wait before the Governor disapproved of H.B. 1008. 

“It gives [transgender] kids the understanding that they are respected and they are treated with dignity,” says Joubert-Gaddis. 

But it didn’t come without a fight.

High school transgender advocates protested the bill on Feb. 20.

Three days later, people in the LGBT community went to Pierre to voice their concerns to their representatives. 

“Everybody came together, businesses, individuals and said this is not okay, and equality is a South Dakota value,” says Joubert-Gaddis. 

President of the non-profit organization, Thomas Christiansen says a handful of transgender students then met with Gov. Daugaard to share personal stories with him. 

“Letting him understand that they’re human, they want to live their lives without being scrutinized, they’re just like anyone else,” says Christiansen. 

Christiansen believes that meeting made an impact on the governor. 

“It gave him perspective and seeing things from their point of view, he took that to heart,” says Christiansen.

Which he says is the overpowering message from all of this: the importance of fighting for what you believe in. 

“People need to make their voices heard, especially younger people, they need to get out and be a part of the political process,” says Christiansen. “I think this demonstrated that.” 

Governor Daugaard released a statement saying because the bill does not address any pressing issues concerning the school districts of South Dakota, he respectfully returned House Bill 1008 with his veto. 

Another bill that dictates which sports team transgender students can play on, has a hearing tomorrow morning in the senate education committee.