Editor’s Note: This is an update to this article posted last week. Article by Ed Randazzo, Public Policy Analyst for FHA Action.
Recently we learned that the Sioux Falls City Council was set to approve the most invasive and overreaching “SOGI” (Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity) Ordinance amendments in the nation. This was the Human Relations Ordinance (HRO) CH 98.
FHA Action, along with other godly stakeholders including Liberty Counsel, Focus on the Family, and others, mobilized to oppose this dangerous attempt to make those grappling with sexual orientation issues and gender identity issues a protected class of citizens. If successful, this amendment to the Sioux Falls Human Rights Ordinance would have forced not only the City of Sioux Falls but businesses and even churches to comply, even if it was counter to their religious or moral convictions.
Your voice was heard. The mobilization has already produced limited success as the Sioux Falls City Attorney’s office has requested that this Ordinance Amendment (HRO CH 98) be withdrawn from the Council’s June 14th prepared agenda. ABC’s Sioux Falls affiliate, KSFY files this report. We will continue to be vigilant; however, as it is likely that some form of SOGI amendment will be forthcoming.
Already we know of the intent to amend another Sioux Falls Ordinance that would include gender identity protection in employment by the City of Sioux Falls. This is the HRO CH 39. FHA Action will oppose its passage.
FHA Action assures you that we will continue to make sure your voice is heard and we will inform you of further developments in Sioux Falls and across our great state.
Sioux Falls residents please take heed! The Sioux Falls City Council is entertaining the passage of “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 98: HUMAN RELATIONS” (the Human Relations Ordinance” or “HRO”). The HRO was read for the second time at the Tuesday, May 3, 2016 meeting of the City Council, but further action was deferred to the City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. FHA Action believes the HRO contains a number of serious deficiencies, which require that it be rejected.
FHA Action has contacted several national organizations to legally assist us in both understanding the intent of this Ordinance and how to effectively deal with its egregious nature. One of those organizations is Liberty Counsel. Liberty Counsel is an international non-profit legal, media and policy organization with offices in Orlando, Florida; Lynchburg, Virginia; and Washington D.C. They specialize in First Amendment religious liberty matters and the protection of constitutional liberties.
Recently Liberty Counsel has written and sent a ‘Letter of Concern’ over this HRO to Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether and the eight City Council Members. Please CLICK HERE to read this well documented piece.
On Thursday, May 19, FHA Action called an emergency meeting of faith-based community leaders to meet for the purpose of discussing this HRO and determining where we would go from here. Forty plus Sioux Falls Pastors, Legislators, Elected Officials, Grandparents and Parents showed up for this information-gathering-meeting. The meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and included very helpful phone calls from Attorney’s with Liberty Counsel and Focus On The Family.
- Bruce Hausknecht of Focus On The Family wrote: “This ordinance is a recipe for community friction, lawsuits, and the further interference by government into the affairs of the church.”
- Richard Mast of Liberty Counsel wrote: “The City (Sioux Falls) has an obligation to protect women and girls from men invading private areas reserved for women. The City should not infringe upon the religious liberties of private businesses, churches and religious organizations in their employment decisions. The City should not override the rights of parents of students in schools to shield their children from gender confusion or inappropriate expressions of sexuality. For these reasons and others, therefore, the HRO should be rejected.”
Please ACT NOW and contact your Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether and your City Council Members (below) and respectfully share your great concern over the Amendments being proposed to the city’s Human Relations Ordinance (HRO). This HRO should be rejected! Remember, it has been rightly said, “What is tolerated today becomes accepted tomorrow.”
Sioux Falls City Council:
Mayor Mike Huether
Christine M. Erickson