A stalemate has been broken in South Dakota. The state Health Department wanted to restrict access to birth, death, and marriage certificates. Their reasoning was "to help prevent identity theft and increase the security of some public records for anti-terrorism purposes."
Genealogists and South Dakota media outlets argued that such restrictions would bar those who have legal access needs. Representing the State Genealogical Society, Virginia Hanson explained that copies of birth, death and marriage records are important to those who are doing historical research or just trying to trace their family histories. She added that genealogy is the fastest growing hobby in the country, and people seeking those records for honorable purposes should not be cut off.
"Don't punish the innocent as well as the guilty," Hanson said.
A Health Department amendment to the pending legislation will allow people to obtain copies of the original records, but not certified copies that could allow for identity theft or be used for other fraudulent purposes.