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South Dakota Tries To Define Domestic Abuse To Exclude Same-Sex Relationships

South Dakota Tries To Define Domestic Abuse To Exclude Same-Sex Relationships


There have been a lot of qualified victories to celebrate as of late and South Dakota brings us another one.

A bill that specified that couples involved in domestic abuse had to be of opposite sex was killed by the Legislature after concerns that it would discriminate against same-sex couples. Supporters of the bill sought to re-define domestic abuse to try and secure federal funds to prevention programs and claimed to do so they needed to spell out who was protected under state law.

But opponents of the bill say they never had any information on the funding at stake and that the bill’s original intent got lost in an effort to wage a culture war. The measure’s initial definition of domestic abuse also included violence between family members or people dating and living together but excluded college roommates who have a fight in their shared living space.

Conservatives have made it clear they don’t respect same-sex couples nor do they feel they deserve protection under the law. As our collective acceptance of families of all kinds grows we can expect to see more of these challenges, especially as more states recognize same-sex marriage.

By refusing to recognize same-sex couples in the context of domestic abuse conservatives are saying that those relationships do not create families and are, essentially, not domestic. Abuse between two adults still amounts to assault and battery. But when we place it in the context of the home, in the private space of intimate relationships we recognize a different value attached to it. That’s a value conservatives refuse to grant.


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Photo from akeg via flickr.

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5:51AM PDT on Apr 17, 2012

Glad to hear that South Dakota is standing up against the conservatives.
Whether it is a domestic abuse, between partners, or any other party, it should not be allowed.

6:25PM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

it doesn't matter how you label it, when someone is the victim of violence they ought to be protected. It's called love and compassion - something even animals have. It's sad that members of office appropriate these traits discriminately to certain groups of people rather than be inclusive to all life forms.

4:44PM PST on Mar 8, 2012

I'm in agreement with Joe R.

6:57AM PST on Mar 6, 2012

How dare conservatives think they have the right to decide who is "worthy" of protection and who isn't! Noone should be abused, and everyone has the right to "equal protection under the law"!
And I heartily agree with the poster who said it was "time to get these
mean-spirited bigots out of office".

11:21PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

In other words, I'm glad this bill wasn't passed.

11:13PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Disturbing news, thank you.

10:11AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Domestic violence is a terrible thing and can happen in all types of relationships and shouldn't be tolerated at all. Once again, people in the LGBT community are being denied protections all due to the way a bunch of hateful bigots in positions of power feel about them.

10:01AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Domestic violence is defined as abuse within the constraints of a domestic relationship. This could be cohabiting adults, their children, grandparents, siblings, extended relatives, even roommates. When you have to get technical with your terminology in order to protect people, it means that the law really doesn't want to protect you anyway. Many women have learned this by experience! Protecting EVERYONE is protecting us ALL.

9:21AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

The relationship or not of the villain and the victim is not relevant. So why must it be 'domestic' violence, if Ben hits Frank....Frank should have him locked up... if Frank is his brother, his lover, his co-corker, or a stranger.
Seems these people are just 'bashing' gays with the balking at gay couples being included this term 'domestic violence' and y'all are just looking for insult under every rock (and finding it naturally) over a non-point.

6:01AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

So glad the legislature of South Dakota had a collective brain...and heart for that matter.

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