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SB 67 Allows Religious Folks to Refuse Service to Objectionable Marriages

Two gay guys walk into a bar. "Drinks all around, barkeep!" they shout. "We just got married!"

"No, sirs," responds the barkeep, pointing to the Christ-on-velvet over the jukebox. "We don't serve your kind here. Jesus says so."

Alas, the South Dakota Legislature isn't joking. Senate Bill 67 seeks to allow businesspeople to cloak their discrimination against homosexuals in religion:

No person or any personal business may be required to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, or celebration of any marriage, or treat any marriage as valid for any purpose if such action would cause any such person or personal business to violate the person's sincerely held religious beliefs [2014 Senate Bill 67].

Our distracted legislators are evidently responding to a case in Colorado in which a judge ruled last month that a bakery cannot refuse to serve gay customers. Alas, that ruling hinges on Colorado's public accommodation law, which has included since 2008 "sexual orientation" in its enumeration of protected classes. South Dakota's public accommodation law (SDCL 20-13-1) does not include sexual orientation, so SB 67 appears not to run afoul of other state statute... or, for that matter, even be necessary to uphold the bigotry already written into South Dakota law.

But Senate Bill 67 refers to any marriage. That's where Senate Bill 67 goes down in legal flames. As written, Senate Bill 67 would permit Biblically strict hoteliers to refuse to rent my wife and me a room, because my wife is Christian and I am not. Senate Bill 67 would allow pious South Dakota lawyers to refuse to draw up prenuptial agreement for a Jewish husband and Christian wife. Senate Bill 67 would protect the anti-miscegenist VFW clubs who claim God told them to refuse to rent their dance halls out to that nice Lakota girl and white boy who are getting hitched.

Any marriage. On that one word, Senate Bill 67 would never withstand judicial challenge. If sponsors Otten and Hickey (Pastor Steve, really? Don't you have bigger fish to fry?) want SB 67 to survive under South Dakota law, they have to make specific the target of their discrimination: the gay and lesbian couples who won a big Supreme Court last summer.

Even then, they will be defending injustice, telling lots of South Dakotans that they don't deserve equal access to public accommodations. What an ugly way to return to work after Martin Luther King Day.


  1. chris 2014.01.21

    Does "services" include lung transplants?

  2. Roger Elgersma 2014.01.21

    Serving the marriage or serving the human being. There is a difference between contracting the donuts, or cake, for the wedding and serving a donut during any other time.
    If you do not provide abortions or abortion pills because you do not believe abortion is morally acceptable is one thing, but not selling them groceries to starve the mother to death is quite another.
    To deny someone that you would buy yourself is not allowing freedom in America. That is the line between prejudice and 'aiding and abetting'.

  3. Bill Dithmer 2014.01.21

    Section 2. Nothing in the Act is intended to burden any person's or personal business' freedom of religion including the right of a person or personal business to deny services if providing those goods or services would be contrary to the person's or business' sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, or matters of conscience.

    This looks like for any reason at any time to me.

    Not only has our state come a short way in a long time, sometimes it is going backwards.

    The Blindman

  4. mike from iowa 2014.01.21

    So,pious wingnut,fauxknee christians can lie through their teeth and claim their lord and saviour excuses their discrimination against Gays and Lesbians because of their sincerely held religious beliefs? Does it also mean they can refuse service to the poor,elderly,disabled,etc because of those same beliefs? Who gets to decide if some moron is sincere in his or her beliefs? Next they will be able to pull concealed weapons and shoot people based on their sincerely held beliefs. "I sincerely believed he was Gay and wanted something,so I offed him/her your honor."

  5. Vincent Gormley 2014.01.21

    I'm allergic to Republicans. Heaven help them. They are all going in the ground, where they will have no say whatsoever.

  6. Jenny 2014.01.21

    Welcome to the SD legislative season, Mike from Iowa. You'll learn that bills like these are pretty standard and a fair amount of them get passed.

  7. Jenny 2014.01.21

    Everytime I read about an anti-gay bill proposed in SD, I think of that Willie Nelson song - "Cowboys are secretly, frequently fond of each other."
    SD republican legislature (especially Otten and Steve Hickey, I dedicate this gay cowboy song to you! After all, as Ol' Willie sings, we all know the ones that speak anti-gay most loudly are usually the ones who are gay!

  8. Steve O'Brien Post author | 2014.01.21

    I think I would be happier if businesses, the pillars of our moral community, focused internally on applying a high moral code to how they compensate and care for their workers and their community and their environment rather than focusing externally on condemning those "unfit" or unworthy of their services.

  9. Richard Schriever 2014.01.21

    So, if I have a deeply held religious belief that Republicans are the spawn of the devil - I can refuse to serve Republicans?

  10. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.21

    My argument here is what appeals courts have already written: One's religious beliefs do not trump another's civil rights. Such a law as this only passes constitutional muster if it is also legal to refuse service based on race, disability, marital status, religion, health, language, skin color, gender, income, or anything else that comes to mind.

    The polygamist Mormon sect which took up residence in Pringle has tried the same angle. Forced monogamous only marriages violate their religious beliefs. Therefore, they ought to be exempt - based on their religion.

    So South Dakotans ought to be allowed to discriminate against legally married couples based on religious beliefs. BTW, those beliefs of a minority of Christians are based on a highly questionable interpretation of carefully selected Biblical texts.

    I can see the lawsuits on the horizon, but SD is plenty wealthy enough to pay the $millions in costs for this legislative atrocity.

  11. grudznick 2014.01.21

    I could not agree with Ms. Geelsdottir/ more.
    I have said it before.
    Except I say it like this: Don't jam your god down my maw.

  12. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.21

    Well said Grudz. Sometimes your eloquence is more effective than mine.

  13. Steve Hickey 2014.01.21

    Grudz: don't jam your god down my maw... That's precisely what these bills are about. If they want gay marriage out there, fine. But don't jam it through the doors of our church.

  14. Jenny 2014.01.21

    Stace Nelson is a co-sponsor of the anti-gay anti-civil rights SB 67 also.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.21 are U.S. Senate candidate Larry Rhoden and Secretary of State candidate Shantel Krebs. Not exactly a slate committed to civil rights.

  16. grudznick 2014.01.21

    Nobody says this law applies to cults.

  17. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.01.21

    Have any Gays, Lesbians or Trans gendered, demanded that a congregation of any faith accept their marriage in that particular congregation?

  18. interested party 2014.01.21

    Kadir beneath Mo Moteh. Shaka, when the walls fell.

  19. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.21

    Steve Hickey,

    Does the legislature have some important things to act on?
    You know things like a teacher, shortage? Overcoming being the lowest state in the union on teacher salaries?

    And more importantly, applying some of those Christian values to our noted reputation as one of the most corrupt states in the union? Isn't it some kind of sin to waste valuable resources? The GOED/EB5 Scandal has caused despair to contractors, potential employees of Northern Beef Packers and the Aberdeen community and the Benda family.

    Wouldn't the moral and right thing to would be to provide strong legislation on transparency in government to keep these sins from happening again and again.

    It would also be the moral and Christian thing to do to serve justice on those that have perpetuated these sins and those that aided and abetted those sins by inaction.

  20. grudznick 2014.01.21

    Shaka when the walls fell.
    Don't you have a donkey bumper sticker with that on it, Larry?

  21. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.21

    Steve H, on what do you base your fear that you and your church members will have marriage equality forced on you?

    In addition, do you comprehend the level of chaos that will be forced on our legal system if we continue to write into law exemptions for individuals whose religious sensibilities are offended by equal civil rights for all in all places? Shall we guarantee voting rights in some parts of the country, but not others? Shall we further limit health care to only those procedures that we are comfortable with? Will we no longer be a nation, but small conclaves of highly variable laws?

    It's the direction we're going, Steve. If you and your crony legislators and religionists continue on this track of undermining the rule of law with your exceptions, you will have this nation undermined too. That may be the goal of ALEC, teabaggers, and other rightwing extremists. Is it yours?

  22. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.21

    Steve, I don't see any grounds for forcing you to solemnize marriages that violate your religious principles. Neither does my wife. Neither one of you are selling cakes in the secular free market. (Neither one of you needs SB 66, the other marriage bill in the hopper, either.)

  23. grudznick 2014.01.21

    Indeed. If your religion says you can't eat half pound cheeseburgers then don't eat half pound cheeseburgers. Don't try and pass a law that says I get no half pound cheeseburgers because it offends your god.

  24. Bill Dithmer 2014.01.21

    "That's precisely what these bills are about. If they want gay marriage out there, fine. But don't jam it through the doors of our church."

    Don't worry Reverend Hickey, I doubt that any of my gay friends will be entering your church of holy homophobes any time soon.

    By the way, it looks very much to me like you are admitting, through inference, that your church is a business. In that case, isn't it time to give that 501c up? It's tax time and the rest of us wants our money.

    If your a bigot and you know it clap your hands
    If your a bigot and you know it clap your hands
    If your a bigot and you know it and your not afraid to show it, if your a bigot and you know it clap your hands.

    Well you sure don't have any problem showing it so sing loud sing proud.

    That's ok Reverend, I forgive ya, although I doubt very much God, "if there is one," will. No I bet he she or it has other things in mind for people like you. If I remember right the bible speaks of everyone being the same in Gods eyes. Or did I read the wrong bible again?

    Now for our musical interlude

    And if God is a she heres one form Jimmi

    The Blindman

  25. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.21

    Oh Blindman, you truly are The Best!!!

  26. Jana 2014.01.22

    As long as we're on the subject of economic development...wait...what?

    I wonder if any of the geniuses behind this bill have thought about the unintended consequences of this particular piece of legislation.

    In case they hadn't noticed, most of the Fortune 100 have policies backing equality. Business is not afraid of bigoted backlash on treating people equally. They have plenty of choices on where to move or expand their business without worrying about how a state's homophobic paranoia might affect their employees and bottom line.

    That's if they get past our great national reputation on educating their kids and future employees. Or the freedom we offer for their employees to pack heat on the know just in case.

    But, as we try and lure professionals to you really think these knuckle dragging legislators are helping?

    Oh yeah...when DD is in the Mall of America recruiting, will he be sure and remind those he talks to that SD is hostile to the LGBT and their friends and family? Or better yet, when he tries to get a news story, will they ask him that question?

    Hickey...stick to the mission on usery, and gambling. Go get em tiger.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.22

    Jana, we don't serve their kind here. We don't need their kind here. We want our nice little enclave where diversity means all Anglo Republicans with different color neckties.

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.22

    Erin, I wondered if this bill might be some astroturfy cut-and-paste from outside activists. The Arizona bill, their SB 1062, looks very different in actual text, though with the same intent. And check out the Arizona proposal's text: in expanding the definition of "person", Arizona's bill would grant corporations to have religious beliefs.

    I challenge all readers to explain to me how a corporation can have and exercise religious beliefs. If corporations can get into heaven, I really don't want salvation.

  29. mike from iowa 2014.01.22

    CH-it gets real simple,real fast. Appoint rw leaning judges to every available post,stack the Scotus with ideologues that favor the wealthy,corporations and religion and then push your radical agenda through a compliant congress,like dumb bass dubya had. Who knew an activist,rw Scotus would re-write the 14th amendment's equal protection clause to annoint Bush as Potus and then claim it was a one time deal,not to be considered precedent for future Dems to use. You are also not likely to ever see a korporation on death row,either.

  30. Steve Hickey 2014.01.22

    Of course all of you think a Muslim restaurant owner should be forced to serve me pork, correct? Or maybe I should respect his beliefs and go somewhere that serves pork.

    Our church serves traditional marriage for a variety of deeply held convictions. If that's not what you are hungry for, go somewhere else.

  31. Rick 2014.01.22

    Steve Hickey, if there are South Dakotans who don't want you in our state, is it okay to circulate petitions to gather enough signatures to place an amendment on the ballot stating we don't want your kind here and forcing you and your family to move to another state? Would you like that?

    And are you going to support the effort to encourage South Dakotans to gamble more? That would be a crazy move on your part but certainly not surprising.

  32. mike from iowa 2014.01.22

    Of all the examples you could have come up with,why choose a Muslim? I haven't noticed much tolerance for Muslims or Gays from the conservative side of the spectrum. Color me curious.

  33. Nick Nemec 2014.01.22

    With all due respect Rep. Hickey your example of a Muslim restaurant owner being forced to serve you pork against his wishes doesn't hold much water. He didn't refuse to serve you something because of something about you, he refused to sell you pork because he doesn't serve pork to anyone, it isn't an item on his menu. Your example is akin to going into Burger King and demanding a Big Mac, ahhhh sorry dude you're in the wrong store.

    Had he refused to serve you some item that's actually on his menu then you might have had an action against him, assuming the reason he refused was because of who you are and not because of something you did like kick over a table and pee in the corner.

    If you are in business with the general public you can't refuse to provide a service you would normally provide because you disapprove of the the customer.

  34. Steve Hickey 2014.01.22

    You're on to something, Mike from Iowa. Tolerance is a two way street. And regarding Muslims, it is curious to me that Muslims are far more miserably intolerant of gays than conservative Christians but gays tolerate Muslims and yet they have no tolerance for Christians.

    Rick, get a grip on yourself. No one is talking about kicking gays out of SD. The issue I'm raising is whether religious freedom still trumps sexual freedom. Can someone force me/our church to do something and endorse something that violates my/our religious convictions? If so, then we have lost religious liberty in our nation and we are becoming like Iran - convert or die, keep quiet or die.

  35. Steve Hickey 2014.01.22

    Come on Nick, think it through. He doesn't serve pork, I don't serve gay marriage. Go to the store next door if that's what you want.

    Can a natural health store be made to sell vaccines? They are in business serving the general public.

    As a natural health store they aren't refusing to offer vaccines because they disapprove of the people who want them. They think vaccines are harmful to people and care about them enough to not offer a product or service they believe strongly is bad for you.

  36. Nick Nemec 2014.01.22

    I know of no instance where any law would require you to preform a gay marriage ceremony, and I would oppose any effort to force you to preform such a ceremony. There is a time and a place religious freedom arguments.

  37. Nick Nemec 2014.01.22

    Steve in the Utah case the bakery refused to bake a wedding cake, something they normally do, simply because the people purchasing it were gay. Had they not been a bakery that bakes wedding cakes they would have been perfectly within their right to refuse to bake a wedding cake.

  38. Nick Nemec 2014.01.22

    A business can't be made to do something or provide some service they normally don't do or provide. But, they can't refuse to provide some service that they would otherwise provide simply because the customer is gay.

  39. Steve Hickey 2014.01.22

    Can a doctor refuse to write a prescription for a patient which they believe will hurt not help them? They write the prescription for many others, should we make them wrote it for all.

    Can a company that makes pentobarbital, the death penalty drug refuse to sell it to law enforcement because they don't want their product used to take life?

    These are examples similar to the cake maker. For religious conscience reasons they don't want their product at a gay wedding. They in good conscience can't enscribe Bill and Tom on that cake or put the two groom topper on. If you want a two groom topper cake, find a store that sells them.

  40. Nick Nemec 2014.01.22

    So the basis of your argument is that gay marriage is harmful to the gay couple?

  41. Kal Lis 2014.01.22

    Since everyone is in a questioning mood, I'll ask mine.

    Under this proposed statute, can a Protestant baker who believes that communion is the sole sacrament refuse to bake a cake for a Roman Catholic couple because Catholicism recognizes marriage as a sacrament? Some folks have deeply held philosophical and religious beliefs about sacraments.

    Does the wording of this statute allow a wedding planner to refuse service to a mixed race couple planning to get married? Last year a pastor in the South refused to perform such a marriage.

    Why do wedding planners get protection under this statute but funeral directors have to serve all? What if the funeral director has the same objections to gay unions? Funerals and weddings seem to be equally solemn events. Funeral directors would seem to have better claim to protection. No one has to have a wedding cake; everyone dies.

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.22

    No, Steve, the drug examples are not equivalent to the cake example. In the drug examples, a vendor is declining to sell a product because of concerns that the product will be misused. The denial is independent of the race, sex, sexual orientation, or other protected status of the customer. Similarly, I can choose not to sell a gun to a person who looks as if he's ready to shoot some one, or choose not to sell land to someone who wants to use it for fracking.

    The cake denial is based on the sexual orientation of the customer. That class isn't protected under SD law right now, so SB 67 isn't necessary, but it's still immoral to deny that cake as a vendor in the marketplace subject to public accommodations/discrimination law.

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.22

    Nick's right on on the pork rebuttal. The Muslim restaurateur not selling pork isn't discriminating against people. He's making a market choice no more harmful than McDonald's not selling pizza. The Muslim happens to have a religious motive, but that doesn't matter, since the application of that motive has the same effect as business choices made for non-religious reasons.

  44. Bill Dithmer 2014.01.22

    "Can a Protestant baker who believes that communion is the sole sacrament refuse to bake a cake for a Roman Catholic couple because Catholicism recognizes marriage as a sacrament? Some folks have deeply held philosophical and religious beliefs about sacraments."

    Interesting question Kal Lis. Isn't that what all the fighting was about in Ireland? Do we really need that here?

    I don't post much anymore but this thread is so interesting. On the one front we get to examine up close and personal our states legislative attempts at legislated bigotry. We also gain insight into the prejudices and exclusionary tactics being used to wage war on those people that are different then themselves. There is no doubt that these types of bills will further isolate South Dakota from the rest of the country in terms of personal and business resources.

    Now on to that other thing, 501c's. Reverend Hickey thanks for posting here. You have managed to bring it all together so we can understand that, at least in your church, you see the services you perform as a business. You equate your church to, a doctor's practice, a cake baker, and a restaurant owner, a Muslim restaurant owner at that.

    That's the problem with most churches, they want it both ways. Tax exemptions and the protections of their 501c's, but also the right to effect legislation in some way.

    Please stop trying to legislate morality. If you push it down my throat I will probably puke all over ya and neither one of us wants that to happen.

    The Blindman

  45. Jerry 2014.01.22

    Blindman, you speaketh the truth man. Post some more of the good stuff. Even though Hickey will probably not get it, what you said speaks clearly about all of this. Hell, I even see my faults in thinking that it would be wise for clergy to put some of their congregants into the hot seat. Deb kind of cleared that up for me, but your statement makes it crystal clear. Religion and politics do not belong together anymore than oil and water.

  46. mike from iowa 2014.01.22

    Steve H-I hadn't noticed any Muslims in America harming any one except their own kind. You're not comparing religious and sexual freedom. Being Gay isn't a choice,regardless of what you believe. Using the bible as a weapon against human beings goes against everything I was taught growing up as a Baptist. Your lord and saviour didn't command you to force your beliefs on anyone. The only real difference between you and me is you are in a position to cause serious harm to alot of innocent people with your mingling religion and politics.

  47. Douglas Wiken 2014.01.22

    It appears that churches and politicians would prefer to fight about this "issue" than fix the separation between church and government with regard to marriage and get the discussion out of legislatures, etc.

    The state should issue "Civil Union Licenses" and change all laws that refer to marriage to change "marriage" to "civil unions". Churches can retain "marriage" as a religious sacrament and allow or refuse the rite to anybody they please, but state and federal governments treat a "civil union" as they have a marriage previously. Separate the legal license from the religious ritual.

    State and city business licensing should handle problems with business and corporations. If a business wants to operate in the public, licensing should handle control of racism and bigotry in the market place.

  48. Erika 2014.01.22

    Why does Mr. Hickey keep conflating church with business here? My parents were both devout Catholics, but a couple of years after my dad died, my mom wanted to marry a non-Catholic man who was divorced. In our smallish South Dakota town, the Catholic church wouldn't marry them unless they jumped through all of the required hoops. They chose not to do that and had a non-denominational wedding in a chapel, which was fine and their choice. So, would any business owned by a Catholic in that small town have had the right to deny them service? And why use the term "marriage" instead of "wedding"? That seems to allow the discrimination to extend beyond the wedding ceremony/celebration and into the duration of their union.

  49. grainofsalt 2014.01.22

    Doug, I believe you're on to something. Start that petition! I've had a problem with the "marriage thing" and your response completely clears it up for me.

  50. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.22

    "extend beyond the wedding ceremony/celebration and into the duration of their union"—why yes, Erika, the language of the bill appears to do just that.

  51. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.22

    I'll have to track down my state legislators in the Rapid City area and have them sponsor a SB that would prevent the clergy from running for or serving in the state legislature.

    It is a conflict of interest and a clear case of separation of church and state for them to do so

  52. BIll DIthmer 2014.01.22

    This just keeps getting better all the time. Cory a.d Erika you are both right.

    Now, if you would take this to it's natural conclusion, if the church wants to say they are providing a service during a wedding ceremony, wouldn't it also be logical to require them to provide an extended warrant?

    After all, every church that I know of says that service they are providing is supposed to last a lifetime.

    The Blindman

  53. Steve Hickey 2014.01.22

    Roger, your comment humors me. Everyone here has a worldview even if it's a secular worldview. Secularism is a religion too. No one can turn off their worldview when they come here so the debate is over who's worldview will prevail. My worldview, like it or not is the historical/traditional view since our nations founding. 27 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were seminary graduates or ordained ministers.

  54. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.22

    My comment humors me to. It was said in jest and was mostly in response to so much of the ridiculous legislation brought forth by this current legislature.

    My worldview is that since the signing of the Declaration of Independence so much has evolved and changed the worldview held by the framers. Remember these framers were wrong on numerous civil rights and humane rights such as slavery, denying women the right to vote, etc. Their definition of "equality" and "freedom" applied to a white male society only.

    We live in society that wants my personal worldview legislated at the price of taking the rights of others. Christians are no longer Christians but a religion based on economics and personally held beliefs and agendas.

    Like it or not, I find un-Christian to not provide and a wedding cake or ceremony to any couple seeking happiness and love.

    In an earlier comment on this thread I asked you about the GOED/EB-5 scandal and what you intended to do about it to find justice, you didn't reply even though this is a scandal that lies in the heart of Christian values.

  55. John Tsitrian 2014.01.22

    Mr. Hickey, if the status of our founding fathers is your standard of acceptable moral behavior now, you should know that many of them (estimates generally range around a third) owned slaves. That many of them worked to end slavery once the United States was established only reinforces the fact that attitudes and values of one era do not necessarily comport with those of another. Historical/traditional views "are" as historical/traditional views "do". And what they do is change, inexorably, inevitably, and indefinitely.

  56. BIll DIthmer 2014.01.22

    John right again. Our constitution was not etched in stone. It was intended to be elastic, to stretch and change, through its amendments.

    It was never intended to restrict one portion of society so that another could prosper. It was written to give as many people as possible the very same freedoms, regardless of who they are or what they believe in.

    The Blindman

  57. Rick 2014.01.22

    Steve Hickey, I'll 'get a grip' when you start acting smarter. Do you have an example of someone trying to force you to marry them after you objected and told them no? I'm referencing you, not a similar situation in another state. Can you provide an example of this happening anywhere in South Dakota? Can you tell me how baking a cake in exchange for money for a same-sex wedding/reception/party can be viewed as supporting gay marriage? What if I order a cake from a bakery and when it's finished, I pay for it, pick it up and then thank the baker/owner and tell him/her that it's for a gay wedding and I plan to put two ladies - one is a dress, the other in a pant suit - on top of it. I've already paid for it, it's in my hands and I'm about to leave the store. And the baker objects even though the same sex wedding has NOTHING to do with him. And isn't even about him/her. Then what happens Mr. Hickey?

    "My worldview, like it or not is the historical/traditional view since our nations founding."

    Like it nor, that doesn't mean it's still the correct 'worldview'. Times have changed. You are trying to legislate from the pulpit.

  58. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.22


    I like that analogy. I know what I would do. The baker would be picking up pieces of that cake from now through Tuesday.

  59. grudznick 2014.01.22

    Mr. Cornelius, then you would have littered your rightly-bought cake about his store and he could probably have you arrested just as if you walked into his store with a pile of donuts bought across the street, and I am assuming in this story that there is a donut store across the street, and you just started flinging these creamfilled donuts all over his store.

    I don't know what laws rule but it is probably mischief or littering at least. Now, if this cake fellow chastised you with your rightly bought cake in your hands and then he threated you or you felt threated then you could clock him with it.

  60. mike from iowa 2014.01.22

    Mr Hickey, my copy of the Constitution has no mention of the word christian,in any of its forms,anywhere. The word guns is not mentioned,either,but that is a discussion for another day. You are certainly free to believe what you want,as I am. None of your piosity gives your one vote more weight than my one vote,at least not yet in this country. I firmly believe that church and state are constitutionally ordained to be seperate and will always work to maintain that seperation.

  61. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.22


    I'm an old school 60's civil rights activist and would welcome an arrest for "mischief" or "littering". It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

  62. Steve Hickey 2014.01.22

    So does separation of church and state mean the government can't come in and tell our church what to believe? After the establishment clause comes the free exercise clause. That means religious people are free to exercise their faith as their conscious dictates.

    George Washinton wouldn't let his soldiers cuss. Thomas Jefferson used the marine band to do the music in the church services he was holding in the US Capitol building. No one is asking for that any more. We are concerned the day is coming to an end where churches that only promote and perform traditional marriages will be charged with discrimination.

    Gay marriage is happening just over the Iowa border. The implications of that for Sioux Falls area churches are considerations already. What if I refuse to allow two male names to appear as parents on a baptism certificate?

  63. Steve Hickey 2014.01.22

    Craziest line in this whole string is from the Iowa guy: "I hadn't noticed any Muslims in America harming any one except their own kind. "

    Have we really forgotten 9/11? Is there no feminist outcry for how Islam treats women? It's nuts to me how Islam entirely gets a free pass from all you "progressives" but you have a zero-tolerance policy toward Christianity .

  64. John Tsitrian 2014.01.22

    Mr. Hickey, what you do in your church is your business, and if your congregation believes that your activities have some historical validity because of what our founding fathers said and did, that's their business. I believe even the most ardent civil rights advocates would go along with that notion and can't conceive of a situation in which your church would be charged with discrimination for celebrating values that are associated with your understanding of the Holy Bible. As to the baptismal certificate, I'm certain that it has no legal meaning, but is rather a form of record keeping for the church. I would support to my final breath your church's right to maintain its records as you and your congregation see fit. Feeling those rights and values are under some sort of duress or outright assault because the broader, secular society is evolving toward acceptance of homosexuals in just about all of its institutions, including civil marriage, is, if not paranoid, certainly beyond rational levels of concern. The church is an institution that has withstood two millenia of profound changes in civil society--I doubt that a common acceptance of homosexuality as an indelible part of a community's life will shake the core of faith that has held Christians together for better than two thousand years.

  65. Sid 2014.01.22

    Mr. Hickey,
    Let me try and make it clear that the separation of Church and State, which both the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses have the effect of creating, sets up a wall which works for you, not against you. In no State in this Union can either the Federal or a State government require a sacrament of the Church to be performed if the minister refuses to do so. Likewise, the State cannot prohibit the performance of a sacrament (unless it endangers someone-i.e. some of these so-called "exorcisms" which have resulted in the deaths of children). To say that the government has that power is nothing but a very large lie which, because it is so outrageous, causes many to take as true. This is so especially if they have been conditioned to believe that such is outrages are sanctioned under our system of governance. However, because of our system and protections, a government agent cannot show up at your Church some day and tell you that you are not practicing Christianity correctly and you be fined or imprisoned therefore.

    However, if one wishes to engage in secular commerce, then one must accept that all who wish to engage in that commerce must be treated with equal respect. For too many years we allowed such discrimination against not only Blacks, but the Jewish, the Irish, the Chinese, ad infinitum. If engaging in that area of commerce causes one to be placed into a position where by performing the acts of engaging in their chosen commerce may, from time to time, violate their conscience, then they should change to something which will not cause that conflict.

    That having been said, it should be noted that George Washington, although a regular attendee at church with his wife, never took communion as he was never a member of the Church because, based upon his code of honor, to do so would falsely represent his status in the Church. As far as the religious education of many of the founding fathers, such diversity in religious practices and denominations (Baptist, Puritan, Quaker, etc.) and the persecution which had come from the Crown (State) sanctioned Church of England for practicing such diversities, most of which placed obedience to their respective churches over obedience to the Crown, is what directly led to the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses contained in the First Amendment. (Not to mention a significant migration from England to this continent.)

    I would suggest that before you repeat what others (most of whom are ignorant dolts) say about what our founding fathers believed and did not believe, that you spend some of your time reading sources such as The Letters of Thomas Jefferson, The Federalist Papers, Common Sense (by Thomas Paine), and other books, essays, and commentaries actually written by our founding fathers.

    What seems to get lost in all of this is that the founding fathers' beliefs, as set forth in both our founding documents and their respective writings and speeches, were products of the Age of Reason. That is, they had concluded that mankind was vested with inalienable rights which were not bestowed by Government (or the King), but existed by virtue of our existence. As a result of these conclusions, they wrote a Bill of Rights which decreed that Government could never intrude upon certain certain areas of our lives. Likewise, we as individuals, are prohibited from many of the same intrusions upon our fellow man.

    Therefore, I will never tell you what to believe or how to practice your religious beliefs. However, you, as a fellow American, must respect those boundaries which say that you may not tell me what to believe or how to practice those beliefs. Neither of us will learn until the Hereafter whether either of us (or both of us) were right, or even if both of us were wrong. Meanwhile, if we do not exercise respect for each others' right to believe, without condemnation from each other, especially condemnation through the power of government (meaning "force"), we will degenerate into a lawless and oppressive society which is exactly what our founding fathers chose to avoid.

  66. Bill Dithmer 2014.01.22

    Bravo Sid Bravo.

    Best post of the decade.

    The Blindman

  67. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.22

    It has always been my belief that the separation of church and state exist for two fundamental reasons. It exist to prevent the government from intruding on anyone's freedom of religion, and it also exist to prevent tyrannical religious fanatics from intruding their religion on others and to keep their beliefs out of government.

    Abraham Lincoln is always hailed as a great Republican and often quoted, my recent favorite quote is, "Those that deny freedom to others deserve it not themselves".

    What happened to that Republican Party Lincoln so loved?
    Why do they continually legislate against voting rights, women's rights and deny medical needs to those that most need it.

    In their rush to control mankind with worn out Biblical verses they have alienated nearly every demographic group there is, except the white establishment.

  68. Willie 2014.01.22

    This is just wrong! It promotes discrimination & the Legislature has no right to interfere in anyone's private lives. So if they are going to do this then I have the right to refuse to pay taxes that go to anyone on Welfare that hasn't been drug tested, has a child every year to stay on Welfare, or just knows how to play the system,right?

  69. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.23

    I've been firmly behind the separation of marriages via the state, and church weddings. Doug has that exactly right.

    Sid's comment is a thing of beauty.

    One of the tools used by Dick Armey - teabagger founder, the Koch Bros, and other plutocrats, has been religion. It's always been a favorite since the first human stood upright.

    It's been manifested in manufactured issues cranked up to the point of hysteria. I'm talking about the "War on Xmas," end of Christianity, Zionism, gay marriage, a woman's right to make her own medical decisions, women's rights on multiple levels, respect for Judaism, Islam, atheism, and so many other ginned up "issues."

    Hickey and other minions didn't start this, but they need to stop now. If legislators want to ensure that they will never do any wedding against their will, there is a surefire solution: Write a law that separates civil marriages at the courthouse from weddings at any church. Everyone gets married at the courthouse, then heads for the church for the wedding with the clergy, family, music, all the bells and smells.

    I think that one of the reasons some churches oppose the separation is because they are afraid that the number of couples who come to church for their wedding will plummet.

    That's what I think will happen. It's rather common that young couples become regular worship attenders leading up to the wedding date, and disappear soon after. The process repeats with the first baby and baptism.

    That probably will happen. I feel that if churches need to rely on the government to coerce attendance, they've strayed far from Jesus' Way. Sad state of faith.

    Oh, one more thing. Churches who want to limit themselves to certain, approved couples only, do have options. My church in Minneapolis shares a building with a congregation which feels very strongly about the equality of all human beings. They put their faith where their mouth is. They stopped doing ALL weddings until they could legally do ALL weddings. It's an old church with more than a century of history. There were generations baptized, confirmed, married and buried in that church. Even so, they stuck to their faith. For 12 years there were no weddings. With great celebration, weddings resumed last August. That's a remarkable testament to heartfelt Christianity.

    Okay, I'm done.

  70. mike from iowa 2014.01.23

    Steve Hickey-what a s-t-r-e-t-c-h-have we forgotten 9-11? I am talking about assimilated American citizens,you allude to terrorist,non-citizens. Have you christians forgotten the thousands of children molested by Catholic-ie christian clergy? How about the christian,we hate Gays,Boy Scout leaders that molest children? As for zero tolerance policy towards christians,I don't care what you do in the privacy of your home or church. Did not your lord command you to keep your religion to yourself and pray in solitude?

  71. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.23

    Rep. Hickey, secularism is not a religion. It is the absence of or rejection of religion. Your claim that secularism is a religion is akin to saying that health is just another disease.

  72. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.23

    For the record, I, like John, totally support Pastor Hickey's right to deny marriage or baptism services to anyone who does not meet the religious criteria his religious office imposes. That's between him and God.

    I totally oppose Representative Hickey's effort to deny equal marketplace rights to those same people.

  73. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.23

    You folks are putting a lot of great commentary here. Among the gems, Roger's use of Lincoln's statement on freedom gets me thinking: the folks who think they are fighting against some "war on Christianity", the folks proposing bills like this to defend the freedom of religion, seem to be fighting for an odd flavor of freedom. Their "free exercise of religion" isn't just about praying or marrying or worshiping or believing as they see fit. It seems to be about using their religion as an excuse to deny others freedom. They don't just want to swing their arms as they exercise; they want to hit others in the nose. And that's not cool.

  74. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.23

    Kal Lis lists more unintended (right?) consequences of Section 2 of SB 67 on his blog:

    "Unless there's a secret codicil I'm missing, this section opens the door to many unintended consequences. The atheist businessman, as a matter of conscience, can refuse service to anyone wearing religious symbols. The Klansman's philosophical beliefs can allow him to refuse service to any African-Americans. The pacifist Quaker can refuse service to any member of the military on religious and philosophical grounds . As a Lutheran, the sole grocer in a small South Dakota town can refuse to serve the Catholic priest because of sincerely held religious beliefs."

    May I add that SB 67 would allow a radical Muslim professor to refuse to answer questions from female students, since his religion tells him girls should not go to school?

  75. Lynn G. 2014.01.23

    There is absolutely no reason for a bill like SB 67 as comments stated by Sid and others previously. What the heck is going on? Rep Hickey more than likely the LGBT community or whomever is going to go to a place of worship where they feel comfortable and are accepted anyways. This just adds to the environment of fear mongering and there is no reason for it. There are far more important issues that need to be addressed.

    Bills like SB 67 along with EB-5, corruption in state government and an abundance of the far right fake and hypocritical Christians, good ole boy club is so entrenched here in my beloved home state of South Dakota I wonder if I'm making the right choice by building a house and making a sizable investment here. Whatever happened to good old common sense? Our state seems to be going further into this disturbing "Black Hole."

    I'm starting to question whether it's worth the fight or simply take my future sales tax, taxes, investment and any other contributions to another state where it would seem so much easier.

  76. Erika 2014.01.23

    "Is there no feminist outcry for how Islam treats women?"

    Okay, here is your feminist outcry. It is because I care about those women that I deeply oppose laws like the one you are supporting. I want to believe that any woman who comes to this country will enjoy the rights and protections this country guarantees through its laws - laws that should trump any deeply held religious or cultural beliefs and traditions. How does your law allowing any business or business person to treat people according to their religious beliefs help those women?

  77. Jenny 2014.01.23

    How are those economic development bills working out for you, Nelson, Krebs, Hickey, Rhoden and all the other scared republicans? Quit worrying and being afraid about gays. Didn't your Christian family values ever teach you about acceptance and love? SB67 is a bill based on fear, and frankly Nelson - I expected more from you. Shouldn't two gay Marine guys that love each other be able to marry and buy a nice wedding cake in this land of the free? They fought for this country, and you know there are plenty of gay military men and women. Try explaining this bill to a gay soldier.

  78. Jenny 2014.01.23

    Blindman, Deb G, -please don't stop commenting here! I love your eloquent writing and you're beautiful human beings. SD needs you to keep speaking out. Cory H - thanks to a great journalist! I haven't seen any articles on the anti-gay SB67 bill in any SD newspaper - sad isn't it.

  79. mike from iowa 2014.01.23

    And to think the Gay Marines (and pols) take an oath to defend the Constitution and its inclusion of ALL citizens,not just the ones wingnuts deem worthy of protection. Pretty sure,whether the intent is to disrespect everyone or not,that pretty much everyone will be offended by bills like this,or at least should be offended.

  80. Phil Schreck 2014.01.23

    This whole conversation gets me to thinking about all the things Jesus had to say about homosexuals: ................((crickets)).................

  81. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.23

    SB 67 has gotten me thinking that with the Republicans continued direct assault on liberties and civil rights, they are attempting to redeem Jim Crow laws one piece of legislation at a time.

    Now all they have left to do is pass a law that allows them to erect signs to legally refuse service to anyone based on race, gender, LGBT, etc.

    The many situations provided by readers here indicates that SB67 could be opening a pandora's box that they not want opened. Or do they?

  82. Bill Dithmer 2014.01.23

    What we have here in South Dakota is not, "a failure to communicate." Everyone on all sides of this issue fully understand what those on the other side are saying, they just don't agree.

    There have been people living here for thousands of years. Add to that a cornucopia of humans from different corners of the world and we have what we are today. It might not be pretty but it is,"as they say," what it is.

    It has taken us a little over five hundred years or a little less then a thousand, depending on who really set foot on soil first, to start to understand the human genome. Does that part really matter? NO. What does matter is that we are gaining that understanding now by leaps and bounds.

    For instance, we know that for all of their different outward appetences all humans are basically the same person. Who knows if the circumstances would have been different we might have had black original Americans, American Indian slave owners, and white slaves. If there is a god, he or she must have had fun spinning the big wheel that day.

    We also know that even if these people are different in appearance they have one of the blood types that all human beings have and almost the identical DNA. It isn't a different color of blood, and it doesn't smell different when it comes out. It makes it possible for one race of people to donate blood for the use of another race. Would god if there is one have done such a thing if it weren't important for everyone to be the same?

    We have males and females, and the only difference is how the X and Y chromosomes are hooked together. Of course they are different in terms of what their bodies can do, but the DNA that they are made of is "the same." If there is a god would he go through all the trouble of making the he's and the she's so close to the same if he had intended that one be better then the other? Of course not. Remember both sexes have the same DNA.

    Would she have made it possible for one sex to give blood to another sex so that they might survive a catastrophic accident? I'd like to think not. Just think of how complicated life would be if males could only give blood to males and females could only give blood to females.

    Now we come to the subject of sexual orientation. For a long time people thought that the only true way to love was one man, and one woman. This was driven exclusively by religion to insure that they continued to have people in their seats when it came time for church. Go forth and multiply damnit.

    We know now that not all people are sexually the same. I don't care if you call it predisposed, or hard wired, we know through science that some brains tell some individuals to find someone that is the same sex as themselves. Does this make them inferior? Only if you still believe that god intended for every person to "go forth and multiply." Got to keep them damn pews full. And maybe of more importance, we need soldiers to help make our religion the most powerful one in the world.

    Here's a question for ya. If god, he she or it, thought being gay was so wrong why would he have made it possible for them to give blood to any other person gay or straight? That's right they have the very same DNA that the rest of us have, along with one of the blood types that makes matches and cross matches possible. Wouldn't god have made their blood different in some way?

    This is just a thought, shouldn't those who disagree with equality refuse blood transfusions if they werent sure where that blood came from, even if it meant not saving their lives?

    Right now our military is made up of all these different types of human beings. Men, women, gay and straight, they all serve together so that we don't have to. Conservatively there are about two percent of those in the armed forces that admit to being gay, but some estimates are closer to a still silent eight percent.

    WOW and some don't want everyone to have the same rights that they enjoy? That's "bullshit." WE ARE ALL THE SAME, maybe even in gods eyes.

    Believe me, I understand where Reverend Hickey is coming from. He has his fundamentalist flock tied with a greasy frayed rope. He's feeling it slip through his fingers and the only question is if he will loose his grip first or if the damn rope will break first. Either way the power is becoming more elusive all the time.

    Don't get me wrong here, it isn't just Reverend Hickey that has this problem, it's all fundamental religions. For all of their differences there sure are a lot of similarities.

    Let's regroup here. It is so very simple that I'm surprised everyone hasn't gotten the point yet.

    It doesn't matter what race you are, if you want to give or you need blood you can get it from any other race of human beings.

    If you are a man or a woman it doesn't matter because your blood is compatible with that of the other sex.

    And if you are gay or straight, it really doesn't matter because that blood to is interchangeable between those of different sexual orientations, races, or sexes.

    I ask again. Would god have made it possible for all this to happen if it were that important that we be different?

    Bill Shakespeare said it best.

    “The quality of mercy is not strained.
    It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
    It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."

    There just seems to be more takers then givers in religion when it comes to being equel when it should be the other way around.

    The Blindman

  83. Jenny 2014.01.24

    Absolutely a beautiful and interesting perspective, Blindman!

  84. Jamie Scarbrough 2014.01.24

    Singling out a group of law abiding people, and institutionalizing that prejudice with a law, is discrimination and unconstitutional. By using the false analogy of 'ordering pork at a restaurant owned by a Muslim', Steve is implying that there is a menu to choose from. Gay is not a choice. Steve tell me when you remember CHOOSING to be a heterosexual. Oh, can't remember? Maybe it's just the way you are? Hmm, don't you think that's the way it is for gay folks, too?

  85. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.24


    It could be that the Rev. Hickey didn't choose to be heterosexual

  86. iamddo 2014.01.25

    Oh, my god, Blindman. I'm afraid you may have opened up a topic that the SD legislature will have to act on - blood transfusions!!! When people donate blood, perhaps they should be required to declare their sexual preference. After all, we wouldn't want someone - say, in Rev. Hickey's congregation - being contaminated by "gay" DNA. As a native-born SoDakotan (and now observing this discussion from Texas), I'm pleased to note that most of the comments in this discussion are from "realists." Unfortunately, that majority does not carry over to the state electorate.

  87. Brett 2014.01.25

    What doesn't make sense to me is the author's argument that the bill is illegal because it encompasses all marriages instead of just same-sex marriages. I think the exact opposite is true: because it targets all marriages rather than just same-sex marriages may be what saves it from a constitutional challenge. If the bill targeted one specific group (same-sex couples), then it would be vulnerable to a challenge under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. But since it seems to treat all groups the same, there's no equal protection problem.

    If the bill passes, it would be interesting to see how an inevitable First Amendment Free Exercise clause defense fairs in court. Since the First Amendment says that "Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]," does that mean legislatures can enact laws that proactively protect free exercise (like this law is attempting to do)? Or is the free exercise clause limited to instances where the government attempts to burden religion?

  88. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.25


    If the "Any Marriage" applies to all marriages, heterosexual or same-sex, why would their have to be a bill in the first place.

    The un-Christian Rev. Hickey is simply parsing words to make it appear that he isn't the bigot he really is.

  89. Joe 2014.01.25

    "Nothing in the Act is intended to burden any person's or personal business' freedom of religion including the right of a person or personal business to deny services if providing those goods or services would be contrary to the person's or business' sincerely held religious beliefs, philosophical beliefs, or matters of conscience."

    So if a gay baker sincerely believes that it is unconscionable that a Christian opposes homosexuality in direct violation of the baker's beliefs, that would allow them to refuse services for a Christian wedding?

    Oh by the way, "freedom to discriminate against others" also means "others have the freedom to discriminate against you."

  90. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.25

    Since this South Dakota legislature intent on regulating rights of others and banning this and that, it is clear what needs to be done to deal with this problem.

    Homophobia needs to be banned or made illegal, their self-righteousness imposes on the rights of a minority.

  91. Will 2014.01.26

    Mr Heidelberger: Thank you for bringing light to a topic which most South Dakotans tend to avoid and consider taboo. Persons such as Mr. Dickey (not Rev. in my mind, since he uses the Bible as a weapon and refuses to acknowledge it's true meaning-LOVE and ACCEPTANCE), are why I left South Dakota and will never return. I'm often ashamed of my home state because of bills such as the one proposed. Shame on you, Dickey, for choosing hate and fear over love and acceptance. Your hate drives out some of the best people this state has to offer. I pray you never experience the discrimination you subscribe towards others.

  92. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.26

    Blindman, may I summarize your philosophy on making rules for humanity thus:

    One Love. One Blood. Work Outward from There.

    Does that work for you?

    (Brilliant appeal to Shakespeare, Bill! You raise the collective blog IQ by a good ten points.)

  93. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.26

    Brett: we have laws that treat all married people differently from all non-married people (see your 1040). That's not the problem. SB 67 allows people to hide under your First Amendment protections to deny certain groups equal access to public accommodations (and all marketplace activities covered under that term).

    Free exercise of religion is great. But when religion starts hitting other people in the nose, we have to tell you to stop swinging your pious fist.

  94. Rick 2014.01.26

    Will, I felt the exact same way as you when I was in my mid-20s and moved to 'greener pastures'. While living away from SD, i realized it's not the homophobes and bigots who were the problem. It was me. I was afraid of being ridiculed, marginalized and made to feel sub-human by people like Steve Hickey. It's very liberating to stand up to people like him. I moved back to South Dakota a little over 10 years ago and not once have I regretted it.

    If I wanted to get married, I would't choose to have the ceremony in South Dakota. But if I wanted to have the reception here, I would do my research to find a caterer who cares more about making money than putting personal beliefs before business. And a baker doesn't need to know who the wedding cake is for; just make the cake and thanks for your time. People like Steve Hickey will never stand in my way because I'll run right over them.

  95. Keryl Brady 2014.01.26

    I don't get it: legislators propose bills like this when so many other important issues face SD? What a waste of taxpayer money. And what a lovely way to avoid the truly tough issues for another legislative session. Way to go.

  96. Paul 2014.01.27

    The passage of unconstitutional laws in South Dakota has become much to commonplace. The attorney general is still backing the clearly unconstitutional "forced draw" statute despite McNeely being decided in April of last year. Our Supreme Court needs to start stepping up. Further, most of these unconstitutional laws are unnecessary. Business owners always have the right to refuse service to anyone.

    Vote with your pocket book as well people. Please post if you have been refused service for this reason in South Dakota. It will be the last time I shop there.

  97. Brian 2014.01.27

    This bill is clandestine fascism. Targeting one particular group of people for discrimination and persecution in order to fire up the right-wing extremist base for the 2014 elections is not much different from what happened in Germany during the 1930's. This is like reinstating Jim Crow in the South in the name of "freedom" and "liberty". Those arguments didn't wash in the 1960's and they don't wash in the 21st century either. And anyone that thinks this is part of some "Biblical Worldview" is sorely mistaken.

  98. grudznick 2014.01.27

    I don't drive so maybe my dog isn't in this road.

    Red light cameras catch scofflaws.
    Scofflaws are outlaws.
    People who want to ban red light cameras support criminals.

  99. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.27

    Careful grudz,

    These Republicans that are on a ban spending spree might just pass SB1776 banning grudz from the blogosphere.

  100. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.28

    One correction, Brian: it's not even clandestine. But is South Dakota the Klan's destiny?

  101. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.28

    You are absolutely correct. Republicans will drag issues will a wedding cake, abortion, or whatever, out during an election year to play to a gullible base. Often times they win a local battle but lose the national war. Yet they persist on trying despite national trends and ever changing demographics.

    I have said before that the problem with the Hickey's, Nelson's, et al, is that a lack a sense of history. They have not studied or have done an analysis of the Civil War, Civil Rights and the death of Jim Crow, women's voting rights or gay rights.

    They rely on the Bible as their history book and believe that the Bible gives them privilege to exert their prejudices, bigotry, and racism

    In South Dakota these acts of hate are not clandestine, they are uncomfortably overt.

  102. Brett 2014.01.28

    Ahhh, Brian: here we go with Godwin's law ('s_law). "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." But you know what, I think you're exactly right. This bill is exactly like taking measures to systematically exterminate an entire race of people. Spot on comparison.

    It's this type of political extremism coming from both sides of the aisle that is ruining this country and destroying people's faith in the democratic system.

  103. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.28

    Brian and Britt,

    In a heated debate with Stace Nelson on Cory's thread discussing HCR1005 to apply 5th and 14th Amendment Rights to fetuses, it didn't take Nelson long to bring up Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. When backed further in the corner he had to bring up Goodwin's Law. The number of comments on that thread are well over a hundred.

    Rev. Hickey attempts to do the same thing here, except using the Bible and religion as his ally. (Note: I will not use Christian when referring to Hickey).

  104. Brian 2014.01.28

    Brett, there is a difference between the Nuremberg Laws of the 1930's and the "Final Solution" of the 1940's. I was referring to the former, not the latter. Also, Nazi Germany is just one example of Fascism. There also was Franco's Spain, Pinochet's Chile, Mussolini's Italy and Tojo's Japan. All Fascist regimes use scapegoating tactics like this to gain and hold power. This is 21st Century Jim Crow and it is disgusting. Shame on those pushing this piece of garbage legislation. And Godwin can take his law and shove it; the truth is the truth.

  105. Brian 2014.01.28

    This web site describes the 14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism by Dr. Dr. Lawrence Britt:

    I think most of us will recognize these tactics in our political discourse today. And it scares the absolute crap out of me.

  106. Deb Geelsdottir/ 2014.01.29

    Good job MadTimers. So many sound and thoughtful responses to this wrong-headed bill. Apparently many Republicans, especially the "religious" ones, share a view of women's place in the world with the Muslim sect in Saudi Arabia. Their opinions of LBTG people meshes nicely with Putin's. That's a great group to hang out with.

    Where is Joe McCarthy when he's Really Needed?! We've got Commies here!

    Okay, that was pretty snarky. This divisive pandering gets soooo old. It gives Christianity such a black eye. Who would ever want to be a part of something like that?

    Many clergy such as myself spend much too much of our time "deprogramming" people whose only knowledge of Christianity is a list of what and who the righties are Against. Geez.

    As I said, who'd ever want to be a part of something like that?

    So disappointing.

  107. Curtis Loesch 2014.01.29

    very pleased to see that i'm not the only godless person in the great state of south dakota who takes umbrage at the annual halloween parade of religious nits and twits. i'm quite sure their god loves them like he would any morally-challenged child. i find them inimical to christian values i was taught as a child. shame, shame, shame.

  108. Kevin K 2014.01.29

    This is my first time coming to this site and I must confess my suspicions were confirmed. It's a hodgepodge mess of extreme liberals who love to attack one person for standing up for something they are convicted about. Do you realize the hate you are exemplifying towards Steve? How can you hide behind the secrecy of your keyboard, call him intolerant and yet say things that are clearly intollerant yourselves. Do you know him personally? I mean really know him? If not, I would ask you that before you open your mouth and attack him either personally or professionally that you take some time to get to know the man and what he stands for.No matter what he nor I nor anyone says on this page in his defense is going to make you change your mind but take some time to realize the person you are attacking has more gumption and character than you will probably ever know. So, you can spew your vemom here and get your 2 minutes of self gratification but are you really accomplishing anything by doing so? I would hope all of you that are so eager and quick to jump on him have either served or are planning to serve in the same capacity because obviously you know SO much about how to better society. Please just be kind. After reading through all of these comments, I would find it entertaining if they would as a requirement make you state your age as it seems that a lot of you are not acting it.

  109. Nick Nemec 2014.01.29

    Senator Angie Buhl O'Donnell reports this afternoon on her Facebook page that the sponsors of SB67 have requested that it be withdrawn without a hearing. They are requesting their own bill be killed before it was even born.

  110. Rick 2014.01.29

    Did Steve whine and cry to you about the things being said about him here? Do you really think you're going to accomplish anything by lecturing others about hiding behind their keyboards? As if Kevin K is so transparent.

    Steve Hickey was elected to public office. He opened himself up to public criticism and scrutiny when he CHOSE to run for public office. So, please, get over yourself and go give Steve a big hug and tell him everything will be ok.

  111. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.29

    Kevin K.
    As you hide behind the secrecy of your keyboard to defend a man that has offered some very offensive legislation, consider Rick's remarks. Hickey has subjected himself to justifiable and unjustifiable criticism by his "choosing" to be a public servant. If Steve wants to play a big boy game, he had best put on his big boy pants.

    I don't have to know Steve personally to understand his politics, I've had exchanges with him on this blog that were both cordial and heated, by "both" of us.

    Is it wrong Kevin K to call into question a candidates intentions when it comes to legislating moral and social issues of the day, particularly when it violates the civil and human rights of others?

    Is it wrong Kevin K to question why a legislator isn't offering responsible legislation to do something about the massive problems in this state's education system? Is it wrong to demand of him a thorough legislative transparent investigation of Rounds/Daugaard/GOED/EB-5/NBP scandal?

    If we have hurt Rev. Steve's little ole feelings, he is in the wrong business.

  112. Shelly 2014.01.30

    freedom of religion?
    please, give me freedom FROM religion.

  113. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.01.30

    Brian's reference to the Nuremberg laws is entirely apt and immune from Godwin's negation. Sometimes, people really are acting like Nazis, and we need to make the comparison to deter them.

    Kevin, there are actually quite a few conservatives who drop by here. And I suppose you're right, there is some hate in the comments: an honest hatred of bigotry. An honest hatred of efforts to turn back civil rights law. An honest hatred to deny citizens their equal rights.

    Kevin, it is neither venomous nor juvenile to contend that no one gets the right to oppress others. It is neither venomous nor juvenile to say that Senator Otten's proposals are mean-spirited, bigoted, and unconstitutional.

  114. Curtis Loesch 2014.01.30

    i actually do despise these bigoted legislators and the people who keep electing them. their minds are like a small old medicine bottle with a cork stuck in the opening.

    my wish to god, if there was one, would be for them to open their minds. i know, that is just wishful thinking.

  115. Jana 2014.01.30

    I know, I for one, will avoid communities in districts that support legislators who promote this form of bigotry. I will also see what organizations and companies donated to get these people elected.

  116. Dave 2014.01.30

    This post, and the commentary that has followed, are epic. Thank you, Cory, and the Madville Times.

  117. Jenny 2014.01.30

    Me too, Jana. I will also tell all my fellow Minnesotans (which a lot of them staunchly support gay marriage and equality) about this bigoted bill. I know enough Minnesotans that will gladly take a summer vacation elsewhere and not SD. Hmmm, I should start a boycott the Black Hills petition. Word gets around fast on the internet these days when it comes to hate and bigotry.

  118. Lynn G. 2014.01.30

    I've decided not to build a house here in SD and will eventually be one of those who has a PO Box being a SD citizen but will live elsewhere probably traveling in an RV and work camping. That poor little west river North Dakota town had those white supremacists buy property there and we have theses fear mongering homophobes and right wing nut jobs not dealing with more important issues such as corruption, cronyism, education, secrecy in government, economic development, health care, infrastructure and others. Instead we have this crap!

    I'd say just boycott!

  119. Jenny 2014.01.30

    Thank you for joining the boycott SD movement, Lynn. I'll be busy calling up the Star Tribune and MPR today. Hot issues like this get people going and the nation needs to know about the Hate state of the North.

  120. Lynn G. 2014.01.30

    Jenny this is my home state and it is absolutely absurd what has been going on here. Even though I love this state and it's people I know historically it's not been perfect in dealing with race and other issues but what the heck has been happening? Is this state getting an influx of these paranoid narrow minded intolerant ultra right wing people or is it more young people, those with common sense and others that are fairly progressive are leaving the state and this state ends up with elected officials that frankly shouldn't be in office and some public policy that is plain bad.

    One large factor permitting some of this is that many people and families are just consumed trying to get by financially day to day and getting politically active could be risky besides just taking the time to dig deeper. They are struggling as it is. We are not a wealthy state in terms of income and many don't have much for benefits.

  121. Bree S. 2014.01.30

    I didn't get the memo on the word of the day - "bigot." I prefer the word "intolerant" to describe gay activists who feel the need to sue every private business that won't bake them a cake. I am going to start claiming discrimination against conservatives and suing everyone who hurts my feelings. Call me a nut job, wacko, extremist, bigot, racist, homophobe etc. - disagree with my world view and I will take you to court and destroy your business with legal fees so that you cannot afford to feed your children. That is how we deal with people who disagree with us - it is the new American Way.

  122. Desarae Biggins 2014.01.30

    Bree, I think you've got the words "disagree" and "discriminate" confused. But since we're on to worse bills now, I'm curious what you think about senate bill 128.

  123. Bree S. 2014.01.30

    Much as it disgusts me the way people misuse the court system to bully and attack others who disagree with them I don't support outlawing lawsuits. Although many lawsuits are completely frivolous, the main intention financial bullying, not all of them are. This country needs less laws on the books making things illegal, not more.

  124. Jenny 2014.01.30

    Lynn, the only answer to dems ever gaining a US Senate or House seat again, is Sioux Falls. Without strong dem support in Sioux Falls, SD will continue to be red.

  125. Lynn G. 2014.01.30

    Bree S. Personally I don't see the point of suing a business rather if a business discriminated against a certain group just boycott the business and let the word get out to others to avoid that place and go do business where they feel welcome and are provided a good product or service.

  126. Roger Cornelius 2014.01.30

    Jenny and Jana,



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