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.
Photo from akeg via flickr.