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LETTER: South Dakota can do better than legalized discrimination

To the Editor:

In Stace Nelson’s recent letter published in The Daily Republic, he states he is for legally protecting clergyman’s rights and providing legal protection for clergy refusing to marry homosexual couples. SB 128 goes far beyond that. It refers to private business and giving them the right to engage in hate speech without fear of being sued. It also allows businesses to fi re someone based on sexual orientation. It also dictates that if lawsuits are brought against anyone, the court is required to throw them out and fi ne the person who fi led suit.

Clergymen already have the right to refuse to marry any couple, even straight ones. They don’t need additional protection from the government to refuse to marry anyone. Also, samesex marriage is currently illegal here. Why do they need to be protected from refusing to perform something that is already illegal?

If the bill were truly about that, it would be overkill.

This bill, however, is trying to make it legal to discriminate against our fellow man, which should not be the goal of anyone who calls himself a Christian. The Bible says “love thy neighbor as thyself,” not “love thy neighbor, but only if they aren’t gay.” This would be the equivalent of being legally protected from being sued for refusing to sell something to someone who isn’t the same color as you.

And fi nally, this bill states no business may be compelled to employ a person based on sexual orientation — meaning people could be fi red for being gay. This is perhaps the most disgusting part of the bill.

South Dakota is constantly trying to recruit young people, but we aren’t trying very hard to get out of the dark ages. Legislation like this is a clear message gay people are not welcome in South Dakota, and cannot expect to be respected or even treated like people. People who are our friends and family. We can do better than that.