Media Contact

Janna Farley,

March 29, 2021

Today, Senate lawmakers voted to pass an amended version of House Bill 1298 that would study the economic impact the legislation would have on North Dakota.  

The ACLU of North Dakota opposed House Bill 1298 in its original form. It attempts to solve a problem that does not exist and violates the United States Constitution and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which protects all students – including those who are transgender – from discrimination based on sex.

“Nobody wins when politicians start meddling in people’s lives like this – least of all the North Dakota economy,” said Libby Skarin, ACLU of North Dakota campaigns manager. “We’re happy Senate lawmakers didn’t advance this discriminatory bill as is. We’re confident that a study on the effects of enacting a ban on letting transgender students compete on teams that match their gender identity won’t be favorable to North Dakota.”

Because of discriminatory legislation like House Bill 1298, issues that matter most to North Dakotans are being ignored as some legislators continue to attack the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community and erode their rights with bills that stoke fear and hatred amid discriminatory rhetoric. 

“With serious issues like our state’s COVID-19 response and economic recovery, it’s disturbing that legislators are spending so much time attacking vulnerable transgender youth,” Skarin said. “Our commitment to ensuring that transgender North Dakotans can live openly without discrimination remains strong. We urge North Dakota lawmakers to focus on the issues that really matter.”

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.