North Dakota’s state House rejected a bill that would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in the areas of employment, credit and housing. Representative Robin Weisz explained that sexual orientation is “a behavior, a lifestyle choice,” undeserving of protection under state law.
“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,” Weisz told the Associated Press. He asserted that if the bill had passed, employers would no longer be able to express their opinions about same-sex relationships, at the risk of offending LGBT employees. In which case, “Their rights have now superceded my rights,” Weisz said.
The House voted 54-34 to reject the measure, even though the state already offers protection against discrimination based on race, sex, religion and national origin. Over 100 counties and cities across the country have now banned employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity, including Fargo, North Dakota’s largest city.
“Although I certainly do not approve of the gay movement…I understand that we need to love and be understanding of these people, and that we should not discriminate against them, because that is a sin,” said Rep. Wes Belter. However, in the same statement Belter said he believes the existing anti-discrimination law, which excludes sexual orientation, is adequate.