Media Contact

Janna Farley,

April 3, 2023

Today, House lawmakers sustained Gov. Doug Burgum’s veto of a bill that would have prohibited schools from referring to students by any pronouns that do not reflect the sex assigned to them at birth.

The ACLU of North Dakota opposed Senate Bill 2231. No one is harmed by allowing teachers, administrators and counselors to adopt inclusive policies that acknowledge the gender identity of their students.

The following statement can be attributed to Cody Schuler, ACLU of North Dakota advocacy manager:

“The practice of being intentional about using pronouns – and asking others about the pronouns they use – is all about respect. It shouldn’t be controversial! We’re thrilled that House lawmakers failed to override Gov. Burgum’s veto of Senate Bill 2231.

“Many schools across the country recognize that a supportive learning environment requires treating students with dignity and respect, including – at a minimum – calling them by the name and pronouns they want to use. It is important to remember that everyone is impacted by gender and everyone has a desire to be referred to respectfully. Regardless of how you may feel about pronouns, it is important to use the pronouns someone uses for themselves.

“Creating spaces and practices that affirm people’s names and pronouns is a step toward greater inclusion. It creates room for people to respect one another and be our full selves. While this may appear as a minor change, these brief interactions can serve as an entry point for people to think about their individual practices and we can build upon these moments to create systemic changes and larger cultural shifts.”

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 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.