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Veto Unneighborly HB 1008, Says South Dakota Lutheran Bishop

Governor Dennis Daugaard has to decide whether to sign House Bill 1008, the paranoid potty bill that the Legislature passed on its irrational fears of transgender children.

Numerous advocates and candidates are calling on Governor Daugaard to veto this embarrassing and potentially costly bill. So is one of Governor Daugaard’s Pierre neighbors, Rev. David Zellmer, bishop of the South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America:

Bishop David Zellmer, ELCA–SD
Bishop David Zellmer, ELCA–SD

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I have contacted South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and urged him to veto HB 1008 – legislation that would prevent transgender students in public schools from using restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.  This is a bill that ostracizes transgender students, putting them at risk in our schools.

This is not how we treat our neighbors. We are called to love and protect our neighbor in need.  Let us stand in their corner rather than against them. These are the children of our own families, congregations, and communities. Let our love for them lead us to take action for their protection.  I urge you to take action and contact Governor Daugaard and ask him to veto this dangerous bill.  His contact information may be found here.

Please join me in praying for our South Dakota children that this bill would effect and for a proper resolution.

In the hope of mercy and equality,

Bishop David Zellmer
South Dakota Synod, ELCA [“Message from Bishop Zellmer,”, 2016.02.18]

Governor Daugaard has heard the opposite position from South Dakota’s Catholic Bishops Robert Gruss and Paul Swain, who find nothing unneighborly about the Legislature’s bullying vulnerable students in rhetoric and policy. Governor Daugaard is Lutheran.


  1. Stumcfar 2016-02-19 10:17

    Quit with the liberal rhetoric. 0.2% of the nation should be able to infringe on privacy rights of the remaining 99.8%???

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-19 10:27

    Quit with the talk-radio rhetoric. 99.8% of the nation cannot infringe on the civil rights of 0.2% of the nation.

    I know, Stu, you think throwing labels constitutes actual rebuttal. You are wrong. Calling it liberal rhetoric does nothing to strengthen your argument and only further demonstrates your desire to exclude people from the discussion and from “your” South Dakota. We are all South Dakotans, including transgender students. We all should have the right to take a whiz without government intrusion.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-19 10:28

    A defender of human rights from Pennsylvania seconds the veto request:

    Gov Daugaard,

    I’ve been following as well as I can the so-called “anti-trans” legislation being introduced around the country. I find it astounding so much of our legislative attention and time is spent deciding to constrict the rights of one of the most marginalized segments of humanity globally while our social safety nets crumble and more and more of us find ourselves without decent employment on the verge of homelessness. It’s a tribute to the resources invested in this legislative movement and other issues by entities and individuals dismantling our open society that they’ve convinced people this is a question of religious freedom and overreach on the part of the Federal Government and not a Human Rights issue.

    We should be passing laws that protect all our children, even the Trans* ones. We should keep in mind these policies would be considered a form of abuse by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and Violence Against Women. Also that “Laws that, directly or indirectly, criminalize people on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity further exacerbate violence and discrimination…. Although it is claimed that these laws protect children, the result is, typically, the exact opposite: they result in violence against children and young activists who speak up against abuses. These and other discriminatory laws go against international human rights standards and should be repealed”

    I do not support in any way legislation that puts any of our children in danger and puts the State at risk of losing millions in Federal Education Funding. This bill must be vetoed.


    Fran Luke [e-mail, 2016.02.18]

  4. Steve Hickey 2016-02-19 10:34

    What is his position on the real issue demanding moral outrage in the legislature right now??… HB1161 and the end run around the will of the voters by the profiteers of payday lending?

    I recently chided the religious right for selective moral outrage on the transgender issue and here it comes from the religious left.

    It’s way overdue time for Bishop Zellmer to let his ELCA churches join the fight against usury and the exploitation of the poor. He needs to put his close friendship with ELCA lawyer and lobbyist Brett Koeneke (also lobbyist for the loan sharks) to the side and take a stand.

  5. Rorschach 2016-02-19 10:36

    Why do religious leaders feel the need to wear such gaudy jewelry? May God forgive the vanity of his/her servants.

  6. Jenny 2016-02-19 10:43

    And don’t forget the Catholic church, which should be front and center in the fight against the paylending scam. They must be too busy in court with pedophilia scandals. MNs been indicting priests left and right here.

  7. Bob Newland 2016-02-19 10:46

    No gold cross is too great to bear.

  8. Lynn 2016-02-19 10:49


    “And don’t forget the Catholic church, which should be front and center in the fight against the paylending scam. ”

    There are some Presentation Nuns that are as I posted on the other thread. Nuns from other orders are probably involved also but two gave very powerful testimony on HB 1161. It passed committee but they are fighting!

  9. larry kurtz 2016-02-19 10:54

    Exactly, Jenny. Little surprise from Gruss and Swain since both South Dakota dioceses are up to their areolae in debt to the white christianic ruling class for covering up crimes committed by pederastic priests.

  10. Rorschach 2016-02-19 10:54

    Bishop Zelmer is a creature of the center-right Pierre establishment. He will not rock the boat. He will not condemn usury, nor will he call out corruption.

  11. Steve Hickey 2016-02-19 11:29

    Five Minnesota synods have payday resolutions. An ELCA Minnesota congregation also started a lending program to help people get out from under payday loans. ELCA has a resolution against payday lending but silence from the Bishop as far as individual involvement. I’ve met with him. Chilly.

    If you are ELCA, make some noise. Many ELCA people and pastors are involved in the 36% rate cap efforts but not the ELCA-SD synod. I wish they’d join us as ELCA diocese in other states have been front and centre in the rate cap efforts. If you are Catholic, call you Bishop. I’ve met with the Rapid City bishop. I got the sense he supports the 36% cap. We need for than selective moral outrage in the form of a single letter. Again, why has the transgender issue sucked all the moral outrage energy out of both the left and right of the Christian Church.

    Also, Lutheran Social Services consumer credit counselling Betty Oldenkamp testified in the House Commerce Committee for several of my payday lending bills, including being a proponent FOR my 36% rate cap bill in 2011. She tells me now that LSS can’t support our rate cap. What changed?

    Well, Bishop Zellmer is on the board – maybe Brett Koenoke as the diocese lawyer/payday lending lobbyist is in the board meetings too – we are only left to wonder. I could be wrong. Also on the board is Mrs Fishback of Brookings and you may know that the Fishback’s fund payday lending in SD. So if you go to LSS Consumer Credit Counselling which is now called Center for Financial Resources, I’m wondering if they still tell the people who come in with 10-15 payday loans how evil they are, as they used to. Maybe now they divert them to Mrs Fishbacks payment plan.

    But this is all just blog chatter and speculation which is what blog chatter is for. My official attempts to get some clarification only leave me with more questions and without forthright answers, Joe-public like myself now are left just to speculate the worst. I could be wrong, very wrong in my assumptions of conflicts of interest.

  12. Steve Sibson 2016-02-19 11:33

    …Deuteronomy 22:5 deals with the issue cross-dressing / transvestism (men dressing in women’s clothing and vice versa). In this passage God commands that a woman is not to wear that which pertains to a man and a man is not to wear that which pertains to a woman, for all that do so are an “abomination.” The Hebrew word translated “abomination” means “a disgusting thing, abominable, in the ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages), in the ethical sense of wickedness.” Therefore, this is not simply God addressing the fact that a woman might put on a man’s garment or vice versa. Also, this is not a command that a woman should not wear pants/slacks as some use this passage to teach. The meaning here is that this “cross-dressing” and transvestism is done in order to deceive, or to present oneself as something that he/she is not. In other words, this speaks to a woman changing her dress and appearance so as to appear to be a man and a man changing his dress and appearance so as to appear to be a woman. This is the definition of cross-dressing or a transvestism.

    We can also reason that the dynamic behind this is the leaving of what is natural and taking on that which is in God’s Word called unnatural (Romans 1:24-27). Paul tells the Corinthian church that the way a woman wears her hair is a reflection of God’s order, and therefore a woman who cuts her hair to appear as a man or a man who wears his hair long to appear as a woman brings shame to them (1 Corinthians 11:3-15). The issue here is the motive and attitude of the heart that is evidenced in the choice to rebel against God’s standard for obedience.

    These are principles we can use to reason an application. Whatever the prevailing custom, men and women should wear gender-appropriate clothing, dressing decently and in order (1 Corinthians 14:40). To apply the principles, the Bible calls cross-dressing or transvestitism a choice that is a demonstration of unbelief and rebellion against God and His order.

  13. bearcreekbat 2016-02-19 11:50

    Sibby, I could not find any passage in the KJV Bible addressing how God mandates each of us decide our gender. I found nothing in the Bible declaring that merely having a penis or a vagina, while ignoring every other aspect of our physical and spiritual selves, defines our gender. That seems to suggest the Bible allows each of us to decide what gender we fit in based upon our entire physical and spiritual being (not just genitalia). For religious folks, that would seem to be the manner in which their God has influenced their physical makeup and spiritual feelings.

    Thus, if we recognize that our entire physical and spiritual being tell us that our gender is male, then the passages you cite seem to require dressing as a male, and vice versa. Those passages are strong evidence that the governor should veto a bill where mere humans try to tell other humans how to define their entire physical and spiritual being given to them by their God.

  14. crossgrain 2016-02-19 12:02

    I don’t think you want to go around selectively quoting Deuteronomy 22… unless perhaps you have tassels sewn to all your non-mixed fabric garments and have constructed the requisite battlements upon your roof?

  15. Madman 2016-02-19 12:13


    The phrase “which pertaineth unto a man” does not sprecifically refer to clothing, as is often supposed. Rather it seems to be referring to the accouterments, vessels, accessories, etc of men. When you examine the Hebrew word geber which is translated as the unqualified or general term of man, which means man were qualified by characteristics such as strength or might. In Hebrew the word which modifies geber is kel-ee. The word refers to utensils, vessels, and implements that are not specifically named in the verse. It is because geber refers to a man who is strong and mighty that many people think that the implements being spoken of are used in war. Swords, slings, spears, shields, armor, etc.

    The reason for this law created in the Bible was used in discussing the issues of Palestinian religion, in which it priests were dressed up in fancy clothing, wearing jewelry, etc. Seeing the issue of this and the influence it was having on destroying the Hebrew culture these laws were created.

  16. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-19 12:35

    Like Sibson, Stu doesn’t have an original thought, Sibson simply repeats himself and Stu sounds like he ingested a Rush Limbaugh or weepy Glen Beck broadcast.
    Readers of Dakota Free Press see right through their phoniness.

  17. Steve Sibson 2016-02-19 13:06

    bearcreekbat, the Biblical passages were not politically intended for the governor, but toward those who call themselves Christian and then support trumping God and joining in the rebellion. The governor should sign to bill in order to provide an orderly society based on science, not on one’s pagan religious beliefs.

  18. crossgrain 2016-02-19 13:14

    Steve – how do transgender people cause disorder? Do gay people cause disorder, too? How about interracial couples, are they disorderly? Are muslims out of order? How ’bout tall people? The left-handed?

  19. Stumcfar 2016-02-19 13:17

    What phoniness? You liberals hate the truth. Sometimes a little research other than hiding here with only those that have your same thoughts, may actually broaden your horizons. Leave Huffington and MSNBC for awhile and see there is a whole bigger world out there.

  20. Steve Sibson 2016-02-19 14:23

    crossgrain, men walking into women’s bathrooms causes disorder.

  21. Lynn 2016-02-19 14:31


    Don’t forget those chemtrails.

  22. larry kurtz 2016-02-19 14:35

    Lye, you’re an ignorant cow. Chemtrails is urban legend without basis but contrails alter microclimates every day.

  23. bearcreekbat 2016-02-19 14:37

    Sibby, what about women who have had their breasts removed, cut their hair short, are on hormone therapy, have grown beards, and developed very muscular features like Ryan Sallans:

    Would Ryan’s entrance into a bathroom cause disorder in a woman’s bathroom or a men’s room?

  24. leslie 2016-02-19 14:43

    sibbie, men leaving loaded weapons on counters at starbucks causes disorder. you are worried about a bathroom? I am sure you personally do not carry, I hope.

    reasonable regulation is a no-brainer solution for either.

  25. Jenny 2016-02-19 14:44

    I went to a drag show once and there was an LGBT party afterwards and it was one of the most fun nights I remember. This was right when gay marriage became legal in MN in 2013, and everyone was celebrating. Families were there with children and everyone was having a blast partying and dancing and tons of food and drink! Fun times! MN politicians that supported gay marriage picked up the tab. LGBT Minnesotans know how to put on a party!

  26. leslie 2016-02-19 14:45

    stum, start leaving some links to the better info and we’ll check it out.

    like sara palin, we read “all of ‘um”

  27. crossgrain 2016-02-19 14:48

    Steve – so you would be perfectly fine if Caitlyn Jenner strolled into the mens room while you were taking a whiz?

  28. Jenny 2016-02-19 14:51

    Then there are Gov Dayton’s parties. Lynn, did you ever go to those? He thanks his supporters by putting on these huge parties with food and drink. All paid for by himself of course. He’s not trying to buy votes. He’s just a very giving person and has plenty of money to give back.

  29. Stumcfar 2016-02-19 14:52

    Is sex in public, public masturbation, nude sunbathing all acceptable in the “progressive” world? If not, you are infringing on the rights of those that feel that is acceptable because their brain tells them it is. Why shouldn’t law abiding citizens be able to carry a gun anywhere they want? There is no harm to anyone else. Why do liberals want to stop the most economical electricity from being produced at coal fired plants? You are infringing on my rights to cheap electricity to fulfill your “green” phase. You don’t feel there is any harm to anyone by having naked men in women’s bathrooms, even though many feel the opposite. Yet, infringing on us because you feel that coal is unhealthy even though a majority do not is okay?

  30. Lynn 2016-02-19 15:00


    No I have not but it would not surprise me given how generous the Dayton Family has been. It is a legacy that helped make the Twin Cities such a great metro to live in. Gov. Dayton carries on the tradition.

  31. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-19 15:22

    And then there is Rapid City Journal columnist David Rooks writing today about his personal lack of control because so many women wear spandex in public.
    At least he did call for the legislature to do anything about it, he just pleaded with the girls and women to dress more modestly.

  32. crossgrain 2016-02-19 15:25

    Stumcfar – you don’t have a right to not be offended any more than you have a right to cheap electricity.

  33. Jenny 2016-02-19 15:34

    Well, what is the latest with Gov Daugaard? Has anybody heard anything? Why isn’t he speaking out? He has until Monday to veto, correct? Really, as usual SDs GOP governor likes to keep everybody in the dark. SD GOP is really good at that, gotta give it to them.

  34. mike from iowa 2016-02-19 15:47

    Why do you hate women,Stum? Naked women’s sex organs are not visible,unlike a guys. I guess you just like to waste someone else’s time with your dis-jointed,pathetic little musings. Remember the next transgendered or gay person you insult might just be loaded for boors.

  35. Jenny 2016-02-19 15:54

    I actually think the people most against LGBT rights are the ones that get most turned on by them.
    Just admit it, Stub, just admit it. Here at the DFP, we’ll be the first ones to support you. Coming at is always hard at first, especially in such a conservative state, but we’ll be your biggest supporters here.

  36. Jenny 2016-02-19 15:55

    Coming ‘out’ is always hard at first (meant to say).

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-19 16:10

    Governor Daugaard is out of state, catching heck at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. He’ll come back to meet with transgender students Tuesday during a Trans Kids Support Rally at the Capitol Tuesday, February 23. The rally is at noon:

    “We are very gracious that the Governor has taken time out of his schedule and accepted our invitation to meet and listen to these personal stories of how these bills can impact South Dakota children,” stated Ashley Joubert-Gaddis, Director of Operations for the Center for Equality [Center for Equalty, press release, 2016.02.19].

  38. Jenny 2016-02-19 16:18

    Way to go, SD LGBT! I’m proud of you! Any South Dakotans that support LGBT rights should think about coming to Pierre to rally at the Capital this coming Tuesday at noon. They could really use your support. This is a group that has suffered far too long and now could be even more marginalized by society if the Governor signs this hate bill. And yes, that is really what it is. Legalized bullying.

  39. leslie 2016-02-19 16:32

    stum- u funy


    2. climate change mitigation is the single largest public health issue in the world. EVER. let’s not let republicans take us away from this fundamental understanding in the history AND FUTURE of the country and the world.

    npr, pri, science Friday, 12;45 pm, 2.19.16

    btw…scotus decision re: epa must not be left at the mercy of RAGA (republican attorneys general association of which our own jackley is an eager participant and likely envisions himself a republican legal leader (e.g president elect of National Governor’s Asson) [which he has surely demonstrated he is NOT]).

  40. Steve Sibson 2016-02-19 18:51

    “Would Ryan’s entrance into a bathroom cause disorder in a woman’s bathroom or a men’s room?”


  41. Steve Sibson 2016-02-19 18:52

    “Legalized bullying.”

    That is what the social engineers are doing in our schools.

  42. Steve Sibson 2016-02-19 18:56

    “Steve – so you would be perfectly fine if Caitlyn Jenner strolled into the mens room while you were taking a whiz?”

    Bruce Jenner I would be fine with. Who is Caitlyn?

  43. larry kurtz 2016-02-19 18:57

    I am a social engineer, Steve. If you have a beef with what is happening in South Dakota politics direct your frustration at me, k?

  44. grudznick 2016-02-19 18:59

    Lar, I think most of us think you are doing a fine job. At least a pretty reasonable job. I know I like your work.

  45. Lynn 2016-02-19 19:05

    HB 1209 was tabled/killed which is terrific news for those who are transgender. Now they need to kill the others including a veto of HB 1008 by the Governor.

  46. Happy Camper 2016-02-19 19:09

    I don’t know if it’s hate as much as misunderstanding. Maybe it’s time to drive to Pierre.

  47. grudznick 2016-02-19 19:27

    Set them straight, Mr. Camper.

  48. grudznick 2016-02-19 20:45

    Mr. Sibson, if Bruce Jenner walked in I would try and get his autograph. You were probably old enough to be watching those Olympics back then.

  49. larry kurtz 2016-02-19 20:48

    grud, you are truly a master baiter.

  50. larry kurtz 2016-02-19 21:01

    Here’s hoping Governor Daugaard’s plane is better maintained than Governor Mickelson’s plane was.

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