South Dakota would be the first state in the U.S. to approve a law requiring transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their sex at birth if the governor signs a bill passed Tuesday by the state Senate.
The Senate voted 20-15 to send the bill to Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who initially responded positively to the measure but said last week he’d need to study it more before making a decision.
Advocates say the bill is meant to protect the privacy of students, but opponents say it discriminates against vulnerable adolescents. CBS affiliate KELO in Sioux Falls reports that those opposed say that in addition to the likelihood it will lead to bullying, they also question the constitutionality of the bill and fear it will cost the state millions in lawsuits.
Under the plan, schools would have to provide a “reasonable accommodation” for transgender students, such as a single-occupancy bathroom or the “controlled use” of a staff-designated restroom, locker room or shower room.
Republican Sen. David Omdahl urged other legislators Tuesday to support the bill to “preserve the innocence of our young people.”
Democratic lawmakers and some Republicans unsuccessfully opposed the measure in the Senate.