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North Dakota lawmakers deem sexual orientation ‘a lifestyle choice’

Jessica Geen April 6, 2009
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The North Dakota House has opted to defeat an anti-discrimination bill as opponents derided it for protecting “lifestyle choices”.

Republican representative for Hurdsfield, Robin Weisz, told AP: “I don’t think [the bill] is needed. I do think it has consequences that aren’t in the best interests of this state, that do intrude on the rights of others.”

It’s a “lifestyle choice”, he added.

Representative Wes Belter, Leonard, said North Dakota’s existing anti-discrimination law is adequate.

“Although I certainly do not approve of the gay movement, because I do think it really violates what God meant for man … I also understand that we need to love and be understanding of these people, and that we should not discriminate against them, because that is sin,” Belter said.

According to Weisz, the law would ban situations such as employers voicing their opinions on same-sex relationships, as this could offend lesbian and gay staff.

“If this bill passes, I can still preach about [opposition to] divorce and living together, but I would no longer be able to have an opinion in my own place of business on whether homosexuality was a proper or improper lifestyle,” Weisz said. “Their rights have now superseded my rights.”

More than 100 cities and counties across the USA now prohibit employment discrimination based on both gender identity and sexual orientation.

However, a bill aimed to protect trans rights failed last month in New Hampshire.

The state House rejected the measure aimed to extend discrimination provisions to trans residents after opponents dubbed it ‘the bathroom bill’.

The bill would have allowed the words “gender identity” or “gender expression” to be added to current laws protecting from discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, creed, colour, sexual orientation or religion.

However, it failed by a 15-vote margin.

Related topics: Americas

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