BISMARCK, N.D. — A North Dakota lawmaker who has voted against extending legal protections to gays and lesbians is defending his decision to send a graphic photo of himself to another user on the gay hook-up app Grindr, telling his hometown newspaper that he is gay and “that’s what gay guys do on gay sites, don’t they?”
Rep. Randy Boehning, a Fargo Republican, did not return several phone calls from The Associated Press. In an email, Boehning said he would not be doing any more interviews.
The 52-year-old contractor, who is single, has served in the North Dakota Legislature since 2003.
Boehning told The Forum newspaper that he thought his exchange with the man was being made public in retaliation for his vote against a bill that would have protected gays and lesbians from discrimination. Boehning sent the man sexually suggestive messages and an unsolicited explicit photo.
The newspaper reported that it learned of the exchange from the man, who contacted The Forum earlier this month.
Article continues belowBoehning’s comments mark his first public acknowledgment that he is gay, though North Dakota House Majority Leader Al Carlson told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he and most others in the GOP-controlled Legislature were aware of Boehning’s sexual orientation.
Legislative records show Boehning has been absent from the Legislature since April 20. Carlson, a Fargo Republican, said Boehning has been out of state attending a funeral. Boehning did not reveal to The Forum who he thought was behind the retaliation.