New legislation announced last week would add sexual orientation to the list of illegal discriminatory practices in North Dakota.
North Dakota Senate Bill 2252 would amend the North Dakota Fair Housing Act and Human Rights Act, adding protection to people from being discriminated against because of sexual preference when it comes to housing and employment.
As of now the North Dakota Human Rights Act states that employers cannot discriminate against individuals or deprive them of governmental benefits based characteristics such as gender, race, ethnicity, or religion.
Currently the law does not protect sexual preference in North Dakota so it is legal to discriminate against someone on that basis.
Nearly identical legislation was introduced in 2009 and although it passed in the Senate, the bill was defeated in the House.
(Senator David Hogue, North Dakota Legislative Council) "The purpose of the bill would be to say that employers and governmental entities cannot discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation."
There are currently 28 other states that do not have this legislation and local lawmakers are hoping to change this in North Dakota.
Senate Bill 22-52 was among the topics of discussion at the legislative forum this morning in the Norsk Room of the State Fair Center.
The Chamber of Commerce-hosted forums will continue through the legislative session on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m.