Recently, the North Dakota Republican Party released their 2020 Republican platform to share their policy positions and educate the public on their vision for the future of North Dakota. In this published statement of values, the North Dakota Republicans, sadly but not surprisingly, directly advocated for LGBTQ+ discrimination and promoted stunning homophobic sentiments.

In resolution number 31 of the platform, the party called members of the LGBTQ+ community “voyeurs who wish to prey on members of the opposite sex,” saying their “compulsions are primarily developmental,” and they “infect society at large” with “unhealthy and dangerous” practices. They concluded by stating that their party “opposes the passage of legislation which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to our Century code as protected classes.”

This language is disgusting, appalling, and downright hateful – knowingly mischaracterizing LGBTQ+ North Dakotans and their families.

By directly calling members of the LGBTQ+ community infectious, and painting them as sexual predators, the North Dakota Republican Party shows its true colors and its lack of understanding of the basic and fundamental worth of all North Dakotans. It is truly unbelievable that a political party in 2020 can support such sickening rhetoric and promote downright dangerous and bigoted ideas as “science”. Then again, we are dealing with a party that has pledged their complete allegiance to a divisive, ethically challenged and  bumbler president, who has supported anti-LGBTQ+ policies and has rolled back countless civil and human rights protections over his four years as Commander in Chief.

After releasing the platform and receiving extreme criticism, GOP officials tried to rescind their statement and condemn the wording of the resolution by removing it from their party’s website. However, this comes after the resolution package was approved by 621-139 vote in April 2020. This means that 621 delegates approved of this vile verbiage, showing the deeply rooted prejudice of the North Dakota Republican Party.

The Executive Director of the North Dakota Republican Party, offered a weak apology, saying “We regret any offense this may have caused, and we will be reconsidering this resolution at a future meeting.” This statement is totally ridiculous. It expresses no regret towards a truly homophobic and discriminatory resolution. This is not a mistake that a short statement of “regret” can fix.

Allowing these resolutions to even surface has shown the ignorant and misguided nature of the Republican party, and North Dakotans should be ashamed of their GOP leaders and policymakers for using its party’s visionary document to promulgate hate against members of our communities. This homophobia reflects negatively on North Dakota as a whole and blatantly ignores the considerable contributions LGBTQ+ North Dakotans have made to our state.

The only remedy for such horrific and dangerous statements is replacing our current elected officials with ones that will protect the rights of all our citizens. The North Dakota Republican Party is not interested in standing up against discrimination (at least not until they are called on it publicly) and we must support candidates and elected officials that will promote basic human rights and celebrate the inherent worth of all North Dakotans. When you cast your ballot this November, do your part and vote against these politicians who do not represent the welcoming heart and soul of North Dakota.

Tessa Gould