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SD lawmaker gets backlash for calling homosexuality a health issue

PIERRE (AP) — South Dakota Rep. Steve Hickey is facing a flood of backlash for calling gay sex a moral and a health issue.

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Hickey says he's received comments and threats since posting his thoughts earlier this week. He believes people are tired of hearing the religious argument against homosexuality and wants medical professionals to come forward to explain the health risks of homosexual activity.

The South Dakota Democratic Party has criticized Hickey's remarks, calling them "reprehensible."

Hickey's comments come after the South Dakota group governing high school activities discussed a policy accommodating transgender students. And a lesbian couple from Sioux Falls recently announced plans to marry in Minnesota and challenge the South Dakota ban on gay marriage.

Hickey said no other legislators have spoken up, because "the intimidation factor is so great."

National media outlets have quickly covered Hickey's remarks, including Esquire, Slate and the Huffington Post.

-The Mitchell Daily Republic contributed to this report.