News (USA)

North Dakota lawmakers consider bill to prohibit anti-gay discrimination

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, government, public services and the workplace.

SB2252 would amend the North Dakota Fair Housing Act and the North Dakota Human Rights Act. It is sponsored by a group of lawmakers that includes Fargo Rep. Josh Boschee, the state’s first openly gay legislator.

Similar legislation introduced in 2009 passed the Senate but failed in a House committee.

“Our state has changed dramatically since 2009. Each day the local and national media produces articles about our growing economy, community values and work ethic,” Boschee said in a statement.

“The passage of this bill will help promote a business-friendly environment that enhances creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation by ensuring that some of our most talented individuals are able to contribute to the economic success of our state without the undue and unnecessary pressure of discrimination over their heads,” he said.

The bill exempts religious organizations but some are still opposing it, according to the Forum newspaper.

“Civil rights categories should not be used to protect sexual activities,” Christopher Dodson, a spokesman for the North Dakota Catholic Conference, said during a committee hearing Wednesday.

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