PIERRE - South Dakota lawmakers found themselves unable to agree on a bill that would update and clarify domestic violence policy. In a microcosm of the federal debate that transpired last week, how to deal with non-traditional relationships, and homosexual relationships specifically, proved to be a sticking point.

The bill was set to be updated because as it is currently written it would not apply to couples who do not live together. In the process of rewriting the language of the policy to include anyone in a romantic relationship, social conservatives balked at the idea that the law would apply to gays and lesbians.

Whatever one’s feelings about gay marriage might be, why would anyone be for excluding some victims of domestic abuse from the legal protections that heterosexuals have? It isn’t as though having protections against domestic violence is going to convince people to start dating members of the same sex, or change the minds of those who already do. So what is to gain here?

Apparently, the idea is to have a policy that amounts to burying our collective heads in the sand and pretending that either there are no gays or that they never have domestic disputes that turn violent.

In the end, the federal bill that was passed did include protections for gay and lesbian victims of abuse, although substantial numbers of Republicans voted against it. It is a sad state of affairs when an issue as ridiculous as this prevents or delays important legislation from being enacted; all so that some lawmakers can take the pretend moral high ground of saying some forms of domestic abuse are ok because they don’t like those kind of victims.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of John Gossom and do not reflect Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its sponsors or subsidiaries.