North Dakota

Fargo, N.D., adopts resolution supporting LGBT residents

Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

FARGO, N.D. — City commissioners in Fargo, N.D., on Monday voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to encourage “tolerance and acceptance of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

Fargo, N.D.

Fargo, N.D.

Commissioner Melissa Sobolik, who spearheaded the effort leading to the 5-0 vote, said the resolution is a statement of principle, not an enforceable law.

Fargo’s “home rule” charter prevents the city from passing a significant measure to prevent anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations without such conditions already codified in state law.

North Dakota has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and an effort earlier this year by state legislature to pass an anti-discrimination measure that would have protected LGBT residents failed.

“I wish there was more I could do at this point,” Sobolik said. “But please see this as a first step, and it’s a journey I’m committed to.”

Many city residents who attended Monday’s session urged the city’s leadership to take the lead in the state on the issues of LGBTQ equality rights.

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“It’s frustrating that North Dakota has not changed its laws with respect to LGBT residents despite several other states taking that step,” said Barry Nelson, chairman of the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition.

“I’m disappointed that this is the baby step we need to be taking when people in our community live in fear that they may be displaced or lose their job because of their sexual orientation,” he said.

Nelson added that he hopes that Monday’s resolution will “send a message” to the rest of the state.

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