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North Dakota's Republican Governor: Antigay Discrimination 'Not Acceptable'

North Dakota's Republican Governor: Antigay Discrimination 'Not Acceptable'


'Discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation is not acceptable,' says Gov. Jack Dalrymple, a Republican.

North Dakota's Republican governor has chided lawmakers for failing to pass legislation that would ban antigay discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

"Discrimination based on an individual's sexual orientation is not acceptable," said a statement issued by Gov. Jack Dalrymple after the state House of Representatives voted the bill down Thursday, the Associated Press reports. The state Senate had approved the measure in February.

This is the third time such a bill has failed to pass in North Dakota, the first two times coming in 2009 and 2013. The bill addresses only sexual orientation, not gender identity.

"It's frustrating," Fargo Democratic Rep. Josh Boschee, the state's first and only openly gay lawmaker, said of the defeat, according to the AP. He vowed to go on trying to pass legislation like this. "It will be back," he said.

Some who voted against the bill expressed doubt that antigay discrimination is going on in North Dakota, and others said it could make business operators go against their religious convictions. But "the mere perception of LGBT discrimination will have negative consequences," said Rep. Thomas Beadle, one of two House Republicans who spoke in favor of the measure, along with several Democrats. Republicans have two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate.

Beadle and Boschee both mentioned the backlash Indiana and Arkansas received over "license to discriminate" laws, since amended, that would allow businesses to cite religious grounds in denying services to LGBT people.

"The question becomes, what side of history do you want to fall on?" Beadle asked colleagues, according to the AP. "Do you want to be the last person standing that says we should allow open and blatant discrimination against people because they are gay, and that's just icky? Or do you want to recognize the inherent rights of the individual?"

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