While North Dakota Republican leaders have apologized for the discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit statements that more than 900 delegates approved as part of the state party’s official policy platform this week, expressing their regret isn’t enough for the state’s LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community.
The ACLU of North Dakota joins LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit organizations across the state in condemning the Republican party’s official platform and calls on Republican leaders to immediately rescind the hateful and discriminatory statements from the party’s platform and work for statewide change that will ensure LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit equality.
“While LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit rights have made some giant leaps forward, the fight for equality is not over. Discrimination is still the law of the land in many states – especially, it seems, in North Dakota,” said Dane DeKrey, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy director. “It’s not enough for Republican leaders to do the bare minimum and express their regret about their party platform – especially after it’s already been passed. Why didn’t these leaders speak out sooner? We need leaders in North Dakota who will strike out in a new direction and strongly assert the right of LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people to be treated as equal citizens, deserving of the full and fair protections of our laws.”
Additionally, the ACLU is calling on North Dakota legislators to take active steps in the 2021 session to make North Dakota a safer place for the more than 16,000 LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people living in the state.
Some legislators have tried to pass comprehensive anti-discrimination bills session after session only for them to go nowhere. “It’s time for the Republican party leaders who have expressed their regret about their party platform to work across the aisle to ensure all North Dakotans to be treated equally and live free of discrimination,” DeKrey said.
It’s also time for North Dakota voters to advocate for change.
LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit people and allies make up a large portion of the voting bloc in North Dakota. Their perspective, concerns and opinions should be represented at the ballot box and on the legislative floor in Bismarck.
“Elected officials may hold the cards, but voters hold the power,” DeKrey said. “Every eligible LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit voter must make their voices heard on issues that matter most to them to create a political atmosphere that supports their right to thrive in North Dakota by casting their ballot on Nov. 3 for candidates who will rise and defend our community.”
About the ACLU of North Dakota
The American Civil Liberties Union of North Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of North Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes South Dakota and Wyoming. The team in North Dakota is supported by staff in those states.
The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit communities. The ACLU of North Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of North Dakota.