A Sexual Orientation Rights bill has been introduced to the North Dakota State Senate (SB 2278). The States Senate Judiciary Committee, made up of 3 democrat and 3 republican Senators had the Bill presented before them and heard testimony for and against it on Tuesday morning in Bismarck. This is a historic bill in a historically conservative state.
The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition has been working on this legislation for over two years. Patterned after similar legislation in other states that have passed similar bills (Washington, Minnesota and New York) this bill would make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, including gender identity, in: employment, housing, and other public access facilities. You can read the full bill on the NDHRC website http://www.ndhrc.org/wp-publish/
If you or someone you know is from the region or if you wish to participate, please send/email your letters of support for this bill
to any of the senators, who are also linked on the NDHRC. The vote for this bill should come up early next week so please send your letters in soon.
Compelling testimony was given on Tuesday by members of our community who have been denied jobs, medical care and housing among other things, have had to move out of state to get away from the most blatant of hate and bigotry and by family members who's GLBT relatives have been the victims of this ugliness. Of course there was some opposition and, of course, much of it came from the Catholic Church.
The news media up there has been alive with news stories on this all week and some of the comments on the newspaper web sites, etc have been so nasty but many have been very supportive as well. (I think the bigots that comment on these sites actually do more to show just how important it is to pass legislation like this.) You may wish to view some of the editorials etc. from the: Fargo Forum, Inforum, Bismarck Hearald, Grand Forks Hearold, the Minot papers or others.
All in all the importance of passage of SB 2278 cannot be overemphasized.