Sexual Orientation Bill Fails | VideoJessica Roose | 2/14/2013
Last week, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee heard three hours of testimony on a bill that supporters say would strengthen anti discrimination laws in the state. After the testimony, the committee decided to offer an amendment that would change the meaning of that bill.
"It takes the entire issue of sexual orientation out of the human rights act. It declares that the state of North Dakota does not condone discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that`s as far as it goes," said Senator David Hogue (R) from Minot.
The amendment would not give those who felt they have been discriminated against any rights to take action against the other party involved.
"If we proceed with these amendments and they become part of the century code, we`re affectively saying to thousands of North Dakotans from all walks of life and family members that care about them, that we get discrimination happens. We understand that it`s wrong. But it if happens to you, you`re on your own. Somebody else better have your back, because we don`t," said Senator Mac Schneider (D) from Grand Forks.
The amendment also included a section that would raise the age of discrimination from 40 to 55 and limit the ability to recover back wages.
"Under current law, a person who claims they`ve been discriminated against by their employer can recover up to two years back wages. And Mr. President, your committee thought that was an over reach in today`s world," Hogue said.
After the discussion, the Senate voted on the amendment and rejected it by a vote of 27 to 20.
As soon as the amendment failed, the bill was considered for a final vote without the amendments and it also failed.