The NDGOP approved harsh language targeting the state’s LGBT residents. The news of their prejudice has been met with rightful outrage, frustration, and sadness. Unfortunately, it should not have come as a surprise to anyone following ND politics.
NDGOP lawmakers have repeatedly rejected protections for LGBT residents in session after session. Their weak excuses often danced around the false notion that discrimination against ND LGBT neighbors didn’t exist or it wasn’t a problem in our state. In 2020, their own party proved that discrimination is very real by their very own actions. You can view the language in this article.
Some NDGOP lawmakers and officials in higher office have since spoken out against the resolution their members approved. Good on them. Unfortunately, it is all too often after the results are finalized and made public do the sorrow-filled comments get delivered.
Let’s take 2015 for example. Following the NDGOP defeat of a proposed anti-discrimination bill, then-Governor Jack Dalrymple issued a statement saying he was, “concerned that we have missed an opportunity to affirm what North Dakotans already believe, which is that discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation is not acceptable. We should have at least established protections in the areas of housing and employment.” The statement led to two things. First, it angered NDGOP lawmakers like House Majority Leader Al Carlson who rejected the anti-discrimination bill. Second, it led Dem-NPL lawmakers to ask Dalrymple to step up with his authority.
At the time, we figured if the Governor felt that way, he should issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination of LGBT residents in state employment. Lead by example and not just offer words after the results. The Dalrymple administration scrambled at our request. For whatever reason, they didn’t want to act. His Chief of Staff and spokesman said, it was already their internal policy and no action was needed by the Governor.
Nothing happened and the news cycle moved on until the next session when NDGOP lawmakers again rejected protections. And so on. And so on we go well into 2020 where their party approved hateful language against LGBT residents.
North Dakota Republicans have refused to act and provide protections. Weeks ago, the Supreme Court of the United States did some of the work they should have done themselves. There is still work to be done.
There are good and decent people in the NDGOP. It is unfortunate some of them either choose to remain silent in the NDGOP meetings or find other excuses to allow this type of attitude to prevail. I see some of them have issued statements denouncing their party’s approved language. The hateful language was adopted! Again, those denouncements come after the action was taken and after the public found out. Bottom line: Leaders lead.