- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - The Sioux Falls City Council has indefinitely tabled proposals to expand the city’s anti-discrimination laws.

The measures would have banned the city from discriminating against transgender people in its internal hiring decisions, and made it a city offense for private employers, landlords or business owners to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.

City Attorney David Pfeifle (FYF’-lee) pitched the changes earlier this year but reversed course last week, citing conversations with state Attorney General Marty Jackley, The Argus Leader reports (https://argusne.ws/1rpDx0C ).

Councilor Pat Starr, who tried to offer a substitute motion to defer action on the proposal until 2017, said he is shocked that the rest of the council did not want to have a discussion about the issue.

“With 75 percent of the citizens of Sioux Falls voting for adding sexual orientation as a protected class during our last city election . I think the people who testified at least deserve a date when we could discuss in the future,” he said.

Pfeifle cited South Dakota’s probable involvement in a multistate lawsuit over the Obama administration’s directive to public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity.

The Obama administration’s directive threatened a loss of funding if the directive was not followed. A 2014 executive order instructed cities to revise their Equal Employment Opportunity policies, which initially prompted Pfeifle’s proposal.

Jackley has said that if the directive for transgender students is deemed an overreach, then conceivably, the 2014 order could be an overreach as well.

The LGBT community said strengthening local anti-discrimination laws would have no bearing on the state’s case.

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church Rev. David Kraemer urged the City Council to ignore Pfeifle and pass the proposals anyway.

“None of this has anything to do with whether you choose to do the right thing,” Kraemer said.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com


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