South Dakota is seeking to limit gender-affirming assistance for trans youth.
A state representative quoted Martin Luther King, Jr. as he qualified his vote to the chamber.
The quote had nothing to do with gender-affirming cures.
On the second day of Black History Month, the South Dakota state representative used a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. without context to support a bill that would limit health care for trans youth.
“I support this bill and I think it is needed in this time and place that we live in and the historical time and place that we are in. And as other East Coast and West Coast issues creep into our state, I think this it is a good piece of legislation to protect our children,” Representative Brandei Schaefbauer said on Thursday.
Schaefbauer is a Republican representing the state’s Third District.
He then went on to cite Dr. King’s 1966 speech at Illinois Wesleyan University where he pushed for racial equality. He argued that the solution doesn’t come with time, but with legislation.
The part quoted by Schaefbauer is as follows: “It may be true that you cannot legislate integration, but you can legislate desegregation. It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that law can’t change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important too. So while the law can it doesn’t change men’s hearts, it changes men’s habits. And when you change men’s habits, very soon attitudes and hearts will change. And therefore there is a need for strong legislation constantly to address the problems we face.”
After quoting the speech and joining a long list of Republicans who have sued MLK while defending issues that marginalize people of color and/or the LGBTQ community, Schaefbauer added, “And as we look around our nation, this is an issue we will face in South Dakota. our children in the future.”
The bill, House Bill 1080, would bar transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care. South Dakota is a particularly conservative state.
Last year, South Dakota limited the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools by limiting “inherently divisive concepts” such as discussing how a person might be “racist, sexist or oppressive,” CNN reported.
Schaefbauer did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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