WASHINGTON, DC – North Dakota’s state Senate voted 27-19 on Feb. 18 to pass Senate Bill 2278 which would bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in matters of employment, public accommodations, housing, state and local government services, insurance and credit transactions. The legislation would add sexual orientation, which is defined in the bill to include gender identity, to the list of classes protected under North Dakota’s existing anti-discrimination laws. The bill now moves to the state’s House of Representatives, and would also require the approval of Gov. John Hoeven (R-ND) to become law.
“The Human Rights Campaign applauds Sen. Tom Fiebiger and other senators in North Dakota for voting to reject discrimination,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “Millions of Americans live in cities, counties and states where discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation is still legal. Particularly in these tough economic times, no person should have to face the added worry of experiencing discrimination simply because of who they are. This vote in the North Dakota state Senate gives meaning to the principle that workers, housing and credit applicants and people seeking public services should be evaluated based on their own abilities and merits – not based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Sen. Tom Fiebiger, a sponsor of the legislation, added, “The people affected by this legislation are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. They are the folks we work with and sit next to in the pews on Sundays. They are our friends and family. They are the people we love.”
The North Dakota Human Rights Coalition (NDHRC) and HRC worked to help build support for the legislation. More than 150 HRC supporters in North Dakota took action by contacting their state Senators through HRC’s website.