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Skarin: Sioux Falls City Council Wrong to Withdraw LGBT Anti-Discrimination Ordinances

Whatever reason the Sioux Falls City Council had for pulling its proposed LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances from consideration this week, ACLU-SD’s policy director Libby Skarin isn’t buying it:

During a week when anti-LGBT rhetoric manifested into literal violence in Orlando, a month in which we celebrate LGBT Pride, and a year in which we’ve seen over 200 anti-LGBT bills introduced nationwide, the City Council had the chance to stand against hatred and act bravely to affirm the legal rights and human dignity of this community.

Instead, they retreated [Libby Skarin, “A Time for Bravery and Openness in Sioux Falls,” American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, 2016.06.17].

Skarin calls for action, or at least explanation, and not silence:

…At this crucial time for the LGBT community, such silence is deafening. To introduce the hope of something resembling legal equality and to then snuff out that hope in the face opposition with no explanation is the opposite of bravery. It’s the opposite of open government. It breeds disappointment, distrust, and suspicion. LGBT community members and Sioux Falls residents deserve an explanation as to why this happened [Skarin, 2016.06.17].

Cross-apply that critique to our Congress, where moments of silence stand in for concrete action to study and remedy gun violence.

Sioux Falls, don’t wait for Marty Jackley to tell you what to do. Show some leadership, and show that you support equality for all of your residents.


  1. Bruce 2016-06-17 10:38

    As stated in your earlier post on this issue, this was pulled because the language was weak in form and structure. It was a feel good document without a full vetting of purpose. It is gone for now with the likelihood of returning in a better form.

    Our Sioux Falls City Attorney’s office is known locally for composing weak cases and loophole filled ordinances. Now the spotlight is on them to prepare a quality document with proper explanations.

    Our activist community in Sioux Falls is proud of this decision and many others currently taking place. We have been fighting sloppy process such as this one for years. Our concerns are now finding a place in the decision making processes.

    We do not hold out hope the City Attorney will be able to fix the screw-ups but we can work toward fixing these messes. If our town’s chief marketing officer would spend more time solving problems instead of creating them, we would be making the equality progress all citizens want and deserve.

    Several of us were very happy to see Libby and the other equality speakers Tuesday night. They deserve to be heard and respected. The equality speakers expressed views several on the Council and in the audience likely never considered. No one should be used as a prop for a hidden agenda. The city was using the equality movement for unknown reasons but to them. This was good government in action and we all should celebrate it. Thank you for showing up to be heard. Keep it up!

  2. Steve Sibson 2016-06-17 10:53

    “show that you support equality”

    That is right. The “LGBT community” needs to start supporting legal rights for pedophiles and polygamists. Or the need to respect the rights of parents like the former member of the Georgia ACLU:

    In a statement she accused the ACLU of being “a special interest organization that promotes not all, but certain progressive rights. In that way, it is a special interest organization not unlike the conservative right, which creates a hierarchy of rights based on who is funding the organization’s lobbying activities.”

  3. Leo 2016-06-17 14:28

    Offensive to compare civil rights with criminality. Shame on you Steve!

  4. mike from iowa 2016-06-17 15:32

    Sibby is a wingnut, he has no shame.

  5. Steve Sibson 2016-06-17 15:57

    Leo, sodomy was illegal at one time. The “equality” label was created by propagandists. If they really believed in it and sought to implement it, they would make Trump look normal. What is really shameful is that the propaganda is directed at kids.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2016-06-17 16:10

    If there ever was a propagandist it would be unsuccessful blogger Sibson.

  7. mike from iowa 2016-06-17 17:11

    Jackley and the state are going to end up losing in court,again, and it will cost taxpayers mucho dinero for Jackley to prove his far right bonafides with his base. This is going to be an audition for Governorship, he’ll lose the case and gain votes. And Sibby will be cheerleading the entire time.

  8. mike from iowa 2016-06-17 17:13

    Out of curiosity,Sib, is Jackley paying you to rouse the rabble here?

  9. Leo 2016-06-17 17:23

    Equality was created by the US Constitution and our radical, revolutionary founding fathers. New World defies the Old World. Steve Sibson, are you trying to win the much coveted Darwin Award?

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-17 23:09

    If the city attorney and council were serious about equality, they’d have drafted a new ordinance to fix the shortcomings of the old. They’d have asked Skarin and other experts what could be done to protect their LGBT citizens from discrimination. Instead, they cave to Marty Jackley and fall silent. Skarin is properly displeased.

  11. Steve Sibson 2016-06-18 07:46

    “Darwin Award”

    That would be a plank fromthe worldview of humanists. Evolution is a myth.

  12. Bruce 2016-06-18 08:43

    Cory, you said it all in your question “If the city attorney and council were serious about equality, they’d have drafted a new ordinance to fix the shortcomings of the old. They’d have asked…” is the answer to so many things wrong with Sioux Falls city government under the Home Rule Charter as currently setup. Our “strong mayor” is just what it says, a strong mayor who does not ask questions or want to know what you know unless he can take credit for the good coming out of it.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-18 08:56

    Ah, so is that part of the game? Did the tabled LGBT ordinance come from someone other than Mayor Huether? Is he planning to ride in with his own ordinance to play the LGBT hero?

  14. Bruce 2016-06-18 09:20

    The Council members started asking questions about the proposal and with each question, more weird answers were returned. This proposal was clearly written quickly for someone’s political opportunity. It might have passed if there had been consistency in the answers.

    As I have said, this was a very poorly conceived and executed proposal. The mayor and his city attorney did a bad job putting it together. They consulted no one for any input. It appears, no one outside of the immediate inner circle of the mayor’s office knew anything about this bad legislation and the campaign finance update. Some of us think the equality proposal was created to take the focus off the other ordinance change. It could be due to our catching some interesting campaign finance irregularities during the last two city election cycles. Our city government is operated under the premise of loopholes and subterfuge.

    We attend, video and post on-line so more people can have the events for research. The more we post, the more the administration of Mike Huether works to fool the public. Our administration is run by a fool trying to fool.

  15. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-06-18 13:46

    Yesterday, I read mfi’s comment on Jackley costing the taxpayers with this lawsuit and I agreed with him. But when I stop to think about it, this issue went through the legislature and although it passed, the Governor could see that this issue would end us up in court as well as seeing that, it was discriminatory, so he vetoed it. THe legislature was so closely divided on the issue that they knew that they couldn’t override the veto.

    So just who is Jackley representing here in challenging this ruling by the federal government? If it is not us, shouldn’t whomever he is representing have to pay for the lawsuit? Better question, will the voters remember this issue as well as his botched EB-5 investigation and his investigation of Gear Up and the many instances of throwing taxpayer money away on failed economic development programs, when he does run for governor?

  16. mike from iowa 2016-06-18 15:02

    Jackley reminds me of teevee detective Columbo (Peter Falk) minus the cigar,the trenchcoat and the acumen, just that goofy look.

  17. mike from iowa 2016-06-18 18:06

    Jackley is joining these other states AGs in making fools of themselves. Maybe this will limit Dakota’s liabilities.

    Texas has taken the lead on the lawsuit with governors from Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Utah also supporting the action. Mississippi also intends to join the challenge. (from the Argus Leader)

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-06-19 07:38

    I’m looking at one of the withdrawn ordinances online:

    How was this ordinance “poorly written”? The gender identity portions simply insert “gender identity” in existing anti-discrimination rules.

    There are other issues wrapped in the revision, like striking the political activity ban and allowing city employees to contribute to and campaign for candidates for city office.

    It adds age limits for new police and fire applicants (44) and a mandatory retirement age (60), both of which seem problematic.

    It revises the jury duty clause to allow city employees to keep jury duty pay that they receive for non-workday jury duty. That seems a reasonable change.

    The second ordinance is here:

    It adds the words “sexual orientation, sexual identity… age, genetic information” to protected classes listed in the definitions of “discrimination” and “employer”. Is there something poorly written in those seven words?

    Ordinance #2 adds a definition of “family” to say it “includes a single individual”. That seems to simplify language, making clear that any anti-discrimination rule applied to families also covers single residents.

    Where are the problematic passages of these resolutions? Where is there any problem other than the conflict with Jackley’s agenda?

  19. Douglas Wiken 2016-06-19 11:35

    “a single individual” as a family is sort of absurd unless it is intended to apply to spouses who lose their spouse.

    I also don’t see why the responsible part of the population should not be allowed to question the social value of single mothers with children from multiple fathers all on public welfare.

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