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North Dakota state Senate kills bill to prohibit discrimination against gays

Saturday, February 16, 2013
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BISMARCK, N.D. — Lawmakers in the North Dakota state Senate had killed a bill that would have given gay and lesbian residents protections in the areas in the areas of housing, government, public services and the workplace.

The bill, SB 2252, would have amended the North Dakota Fair Housing Act and the North Dakota Human Rights Act, and was sponsored by a group of lawmakers that included Fargo Rep. Josh Boschee, the state’s first openly gay legislator.

It was defeated Thursday by a vote of 21-26.

Boschee, speaking with LGBTQ Nation on Friday, said the bill would have added the term “sexual orientation” to the Acts, which already include protections based on age, race, gender, religion, and disability.

Boschee noted that a similar measure had cleared the state’s Senate in 2009, but failed to gain passage in the House.

According to InForum News, the bill first had to battle a vote over an amendment that stripped the bill of its original language and added a declaration that the state does not condone discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The amendment didn’t include a way for someone to seek damages for discrimination.

Sen. David Hogue (R-Minot), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which heard the bill and its three hours of testimony, said the original bill didn’t have the chance of passing, so he offered the amendment.

“I thought this was something we can do that would be a reasonable compromise,” he said.

Boschee told LGBTQ Nation there was no plan to introduce a separate measure in the House during this session.

“It’s easier for people (to vote against it) who don’t experience these things,” said Boschee.

A Gallup study released Friday indicated that North Dakota had the lowest number of LGBT residents than any other state in the U.S.

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