FARGO — North Dakota's Republican Party is facing scrutiny by politicians in its own party, for approving anti-LGBT rhetoric in its policy statements. Page 21 of the resolution includes statements such as "LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large."
The resolution also speaks out against anti-discrimination laws, saying they attack religious freedoms and the livelihood of others.
Just hours after it came to light, members of the Republican party spoke out, including Gov. Doug Burgum, who described the rhetoric as "hurtful" and "divisive" in a tweet. Other state republicans like Congressman Kelly Armstrong also voiced their disapproval on social media.
North Dakota GOP Executive Director Corby Kemmer sent a statement saying in part, "they regret any offense this may have caused," adding they will reconsider this at a future meeting. They did not have a specific date for said meeting.
State Democratic Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen said words after the fact are not enough. She wants to see state republican lawmakers work on anti-discrimination policies in the state.
"If we're going to say that we believe in these things, then we need to back that up with policy, with leadership on boards and commissions," Oversen said. "It's got to be more than just words."
Christina Lindseth with Fargo-Moorhead Pride called the language oppressive and that it actively voices hatred against the LGBTQ community. She said over the years LGBTQ people have left the state because of policies like this.
"We want diversity in our state, and we want the state to grow," Lindseth said. "We want to bring talent into this state. The statements that they put into their platform and agreed unanimously go directly against wanting to bring talent and recruit business."
Lindseth said part of the statement potentially references the decades old AIDS epidemic.
"The fact that they're talking and using language that was used in the early 80's is speaking to how out of touch these statements are," Lindseth said.
North Dakota U.S. Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer also made statements about the resolution.
“All people should be treated with dignity and respect," Hoevens statement reads. "The language did not live up to that standard and should not be in the Party’s official documents.“
"I was disappointed in the language found in the state party’s resolution," Cramer's statement said. "It is more persuasive and appropriate to express what you are for rather than what you are against, especially when an inclusive political party like ours is stating its beliefs. We should be in favor of ideas, not opposed to certain people. I am glad the party is looking to revise the language they adopted."