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South Dakota

S.D. to consider bills to allow businesses to refuse services for same-sex ceremonies

Saturday, January 25, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. — Two bills filed in the South Dakota Legislature seek to protect clergy, church officials and businesspeople who refuse to provide services for same-sex marriages or receptions because of their religious beliefs.

South Dakota capitol in Pierre.

South Dakota capitol in Pierre.

The South Dakota Constitution and states laws already ban gay marriage, but Sen. Ernie Otten, R-Tea, said he proposed the bills because courts could overturn the ban as they have in other states. Lawsuits in some states have threatened businesses that refused to provide wedding cakes, flowers or other services for same-sex ceremonies, he said.

The bills would prevent clergy or businesses from being forced to perform or supply goods or services to anything related to same-sex marriages. It could allow a South Dakota business to refuse to host a reception for a same-sex couple legally married in another state.

The bills also say clergy and businesses could not be sued or charged with crimes if they refused to take part in gay marriages.

Otten said the measures are not intended to hurt gay people, but he believes gay-rights activists are going too far in suing people who refuse to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or to provide services for such weddings.

“It’s unconscionable that somebody from the outside would come in and bring a family business to ruin over activism,” Otten said.

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Don Frankenfeld, of Rapid City, a member of Equality South Dakota, said he believes the bill dealing with clergy is irrelevant because the constitutional separation of church and state protects clergy members from being forced to perform any ceremony that runs counter to their beliefs.

Frankenfeld said the measure dealing with businesses seems to be an assault on the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was passed mostly to prevent businesses from refusing service to black people.

“You can’t be forced to believe that gay marriage is OK. But you can be forced and you should be forced in your business to provide the same goods and services you provide to anyone else, regardless of their orientation or their color or their religion,” Frankenfeld said.

Rep. Steve Hickey, R-Sioux Falls, the lead House sponsor of the measures, said the bills are tolerant of gay people and those who oppose same-sex marriage. Gay people can find someone to marry them and provide wedding services, but they shouldn’t be able to force pastors or businesses to take part.

A similar bill is currently pending in Arizona.

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122 more reader comments:

  1. Garrett Piersa

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:32pm
  2. BOOO!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:33pm
  3. yikes!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:34pm
  4. FU SD

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:34pm
  5. Fail. Won’t survive legal challenge. Unconstitutional.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:34pm
  6. Oh that’s nice!!!…Idiots

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:34pm
  7. Will be overturned as unconstitutional. These lawmakers should read that document some time.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:34pm
  8. So, South Dakota is now part of Iran? What part of “equal protection under the law” do these Taliban members not understand?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:35pm
  9. it will be found unconstitutional. Republicans just wasting more tax payer dollars.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:35pm
  10. jesus rice, what the fuck is wrong with people

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:35pm
  11. Bigots be bigots.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:35pm
  12. How evolved, must be convinient to not beleive in evolotion just so you dont have to take the responsibility of being civilized adult human beings, must be nice.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:35pm
  13. I don’t have a problem with this. Churches shouldn’t be forced to provide ceremonies for those wishing to be wed. It goes against their belief system.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:36pm
  14. it also includes businesses

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:42pm
  15. Churches are bullshit. All gods are imaginary.

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:43pm
  16. and, not all churches and religions subscribe to that "belief system."

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:43pm
  17. churches are already protected. they always are. the specific provisions people insist on adding sometimes are redundant. But this isn't about churches, it's about businesses being allowed to discriminate.

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:47pm
  18. Linda, I don't want people shitting on my beliefs so I do my best not to shit on anyone else's beliefs. Might want to give it a try. If we want acceptance might give a try at giving other people acceptance. Catch more flies with honey and all that, ya know.

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:02pm
  19. And thanks... I didn't read this correctly. I see now that churches are provided for. A business should NOT be able to discriminate. Period.

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:03pm
  20. Back woods bigots coming out of their caves

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:37pm
  21. Bullshit.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:37pm
  22. i used to like South Dakota…my family homesteaded there….but i didn’t realize they are still living in 1904

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:37pm
  23. Celeste: they are Not churches.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:37pm
  24. Looks like that I will not go there. Will not support a stated that it so bigoted at this crap. Idiots

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:38pm
  25. My home state is so filled with bigots that it is embarrassing!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:38pm
  26. Omg. Really?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:38pm
  27. If you are a business and open to the public it is discrimination to deny service. Illegal!!!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:38pm
  28. I can see some validity in this argument surprisingly.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:39pm
  29. How rude.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:39pm
  30. USA are a bunch of hypocrites, “defending” freedom outside the US and restricting liberties to their own citizens.. What a shame! :O

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:39pm
  31. Why do they spend so much time passing UNCONSTITUTIONAL legislation?…because…self hatred is the greatest love of all!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:39pm
  32. Wow so they are wasting time and tax payers money on nonsense and legalization of discrimination. I guess there economy, education and jobs must be booming since those issues are not their priority

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:40pm
  33. this is so UNCHRISTIAN….the ANTI-CHRIST rules in SD !!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:41pm
  34. No such thing.

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:43pm
  35. separation of church and state.....the church has no place in government...or would you rather live under Taliban rules? it is the same thing.

    Replied on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:50pm
  36. Welcome to the Fascist State of South Dakota! If you are gay, stay out!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:41pm
  37. great. and then we can install separate water fountains and rest rooms for non-whites. Oh, it will be such fun to legalize discrimination again.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:41pm
  38. Unfortunately, bigotry is legislated in many localities…but,hey,its OK to effectively legislate where in this nation a gay American can live as s full and equal citizen,right

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:41pm
  39. No wonder South Dakota us a fly over state…no reasonable person would live there.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:44pm
  40. Celeste Orgeron I don’t have a problem with that either but I do have a problem with any wedding business being covered under This.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:45pm
  41. Legal Discrimination? ??? Another waste of money. I guess they got all the poor fed, homes for the homeless & jobs for the jobless. ???

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:45pm
  42. Unconstitional, another tactic used in the days of sarogation. Constitution Vz religion does not allow puplic busniess a pass to discriminate Sorry.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:45pm
  43. When are people going to stop seeing Civil Rights and Human Rights as two different things?

    There should be no confusion, here – in a free, democratic society, ANY two consenting adults should be able to enter into a legally recognized marital contract.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:46pm
  44. And this will be challenged too!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:46pm
  45. Ah yeah… ok… I don’t think businesses should be able to discriminate. Sorry. I shouldn’t half ass read things. My own fault!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:46pm
  46. What next, separate restrooms and water fountains?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:46pm
  47. Hey South Dakota Legislatures – Life Liberty and Justice for ALL!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:47pm
  48. As long as I can discriminate against Christians.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:47pm
  49. There is never any validity in discrimination…a US citizen is a. US citizen, entitled to the same rights,privileges,duties and obligations as any other US citizen,on every single speck of US properly and soil,in this nation or out of this nation.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:47pm
  50. Since when do the ‘rights’ of business owners and employers supersede the rights of everyone else? Is there a hidden constitutional clause no one knows about?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:48pm
  51. so stupid. more money wasted in court. It won’t stand the challenge

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:48pm
  52. Such discrimination….. I would file a lawsuit so fast in the ass backward state!!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:49pm
  53. This is doomed to failure. Precedent already exists regarding discrimination and private business.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:50pm
  54. When will we have gay and straight drinking fountains?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:50pm
  55. That should promote new businesses that will see opportunity in equality. What a bunch of hateful jerks.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:51pm
  56. Jim Crow is dead by the way

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:52pm
  57. oh cmon!! why spread hate? why?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:52pm
  58. Since when do the ‘rights’ of business owners and employers supersede the rights of everyone else? Is there a hidden constitutional clause no one knows about?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:54pm
  59. Nothing legal about this. It will be overturned by a higher court, if it is ratified.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:54pm
  60. We need federal laws that prohibit this antiquated, blatant discrimination!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:56pm
  61. Straight Only signs for some businesses?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:58pm
  62. What the fuck ever. Ignorant, Intolerant Hate benefits no one

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:59pm
  63. They’re trying to make discrimination legal. Shameful!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:59pm
  64. “Clergy” and “Church Officials” *IN A CHURCH BUILDING* – yes.

    Some bigoted clown who agrees to a secular government provided business license to open a secular business to serve a product or service to any person from the general public who walks in the door in exchange for monetary compensation? NO!

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:00pm
  65. What’s next ? The back of the bus?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:00pm
  66. Wow….what’s next homo/hetero bathrooms n water fountains?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:01pm
  67. Dude, do you even Constitution?

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:01pm
  68. they can make it a state law..but its already ben proven in other cases that it can be made unenforcable anyways

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:01pm
  69. I ill never understand the amount of hatred of the people who is threaten by love. I am still a human regarding of who I love. If any religion preachers hatred and discrimination, they need to look at the book that they are reading. There are a lot of wonderful people who happens to love their same sex.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:02pm
  70. Why is it OK for churches to get a legal pass to discriminate against gays? That’s stomping on separation of church and state. Not to mention this: are churches legally permitted to discriminate against racial minorities or interracial marriage? Making one minority less than other citizens is discrimination,whether wholesale or selective.

    Posted on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 6:08pm
  71. and if passes it will be declared illegal by the courts!

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:32pm
  72. Legal discrimination? You just have to love the US..! :/

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:32pm
  73. Hatred runs deeply in these people.

    Replied on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:37pm
  74. sad

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:32pm
  75. unconstitutional.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:32pm
  76. business people cannot do that

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:33pm
  77. Disgusting

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:33pm
  78. Yes, the bill is meant to hurt gay people! Mr. Otten is a homophobe.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:34pm
  79. Acceptable discrimination… hmm dont think so

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:35pm
  80. Citing religious freedom might allow it to pass on the state level, but ultimately the supreme court will strike it down as the unconstitutional pos law that it is.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:35pm
  81. More legislated discrimination? Come on…

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:35pm
  82. South Dakota steps up to the plate for equal rights; and misses the point

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:36pm
  83. And more tax payer money wasted to have a vote on it and contest it in federal courts. Smh. They have obviously not been paying attention. Tax payers in all of these states need to realize that they are paying the tab for their states hopeless fight to discriminate.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:36pm
  84. The hatred of the religious of America!!! Time to send them back to their churches!! These laws violate the First Amendment and make others second class citizens.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:37pm
  85. Gosh it’s high time to hit all of the politically motivated “churches” sponsoring this tripe with income tax.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:37pm
  86. Stupid

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:37pm
  87. Churches and religion are fake

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:38pm
  88. Stupid people are stupid.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:39pm
  89. The bill states nobody is required to give service if it infringes on your religious beliefs. Good, now atheists don’t have to serve Christians. Or wait, does this law only benefit Christians? Silly me.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:41pm
  90. This is crazy !! Ppl can marry animals objects or a man can have four or more wife’s . But a gay person can’t get married . Smh . This is just plain ignorant .

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:41pm
  91. Smdh

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:42pm
  92. Perhaps that could also exclude Blacks, Jews & First Nation People ? Would they get away with doing that ? What is the difference of doing that & excluding LGBTQ People ?? It is Fascist !!

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:42pm
  93. sounds very republican to me

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:43pm
  94. How is this IF the Federal Government has already passed laws banning discrimination??? WTF???

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:44pm
  95. will be declared unconstitutional by the courts and overturned

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:46pm
  96. OK their choice as long as it is applied fairly. Muslims will not provide service to Christians and Jews etc. People give up the HATE and concentrate on making this a better world for ourselves and others. If you believe that being gay is a sin, (which I do not), your sin of anger, hatred, and cruelty are all the same in God’s eyes. Sin is Sin there is no hierarchy,” let he who is WITHOUT sin cast the first stone”. Sound familiar?

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:48pm
  97. Ah South Dakota. One of two Dakotas the rest of us do not want.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:54pm
  98. what’s next? water fountains for gays only? i can’t believe this is even allowed to be introduced as a bill. fucing idiots

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:55pm
  99. Or worst gays sit in the back of the bus.

    Replied on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:43pm
  100. So you can’t refuse service to black people, but you can to gay people? Come the fuck on. What year is this?

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:55pm
  101. What next – refusing service because someone is black or Hispanic? Hello 1950

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 2:56pm
  102. I live is South Dakota and this is just disgusting! Please PLEASE help us out and sign this petition letting our conservative, close minded, and ignorant legislators (not all are bad) that we all have rights! Thank all!!!! http://www.sddp.org/petition-no-to-sb-67/

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:00pm
  103. That silly constitution with all its talk of equal protection, it’s like it’s a legal document or something. S.D. is full of dolts if the bills pass. Just give the people their pancakes and don’t question their sex life.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:00pm
  104. Sad how a country that claims to be about freedom and the pursuit of happiness has so many people trying to restrict the freedom of others and deny them happiness through legislation. Wouldn’t it be nice if all the wasted time and money on trying to control other peoples lives was applied to creating jobs that paid a livable wage, fixing America’s infrastructure, improving education, high speed rail, healthcare, etc. ?

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:02pm
  105. How weird is it that the churches are asking the right to discriminate?

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:05pm
  106. Funny how the current Pope is moving the Vatican to be more liberal and accepting while the religious people in our elected government are going in the opposite direction.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:08pm
  107. Well good thing no one actually lives there. Besides, what gay would actually visit there. Let’s take our disposable income to IDK..Iowa, Minnesota.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:12pm
  108. lets vote to cut off federal aid to South Dakota.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:27pm
  109. It’s sickens me that things like this are still happening. 2014 and yet we struggle to consider everyone equal. To those who hate, you can’t hate the gay out of someone. If something like this passes what’s next? We are a country that claims free rights for all. Well isn’t that just a big fat lie… We didn’t like blacks then we didn’t like interracial couples but people got over it. Why can’t we do that for LGBTQ community? I’d like to be alive when everyone is treated equally…

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:38pm
  110. Absurd…..

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:51pm
  111. Boo!

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:55pm
  112. What assholes!

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 3:55pm
  113. Yeah, so?

    I wouldn’t go to South Dakota to fly over it.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 4:18pm
  114. i thought its a free country..what a crock !! then why do same sex people have to pay taxes????…men & men is the ONLY way to go..so masculine!!!! ;)

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 4:52pm
  115. Oh no, there go all the gay dollars for the state….said the gay people who never go to South Dakota anyways

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 4:54pm
  116. Arizona: they are passing SB1062 here in Arizona that allows any religious person who owns a business to deny services to LGBT on religious grounds.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 5:01pm
  117. More hate in action disguised as religious freedom.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 5:50pm
  118. Many businesses tried to serve whites only or men only and it took years to make them see the light. Bigotry takes no vacations.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 5:57pm
  119. Oh, pleeze So.Dakota – Live and let live or suffer the boycotts we gonna give ya.

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 6:11pm
  120. Evil Nazi bigots homophobic monsters !

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 6:17pm
  121. Down with these Hitler like laws!

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 6:17pm
  122. Unconstitional and will cost the state and federal billions of dollars if past. I can see the law suits now

    Posted on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 6:19pm