MINOT, N.D. -- Reporter Jeremy Turley wrote a story Wednesday on some foul language about the LGBT community included in the NDGOP's approved resolutions.
"Many LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large," one part of the resolutions said.
Other statements suggested that members of the LGBT community are somehow unfit to supervise or care for children, and that being gay or trans is "primarily developmental and not genetic."
That is some profoundly offensive nonsense, and if there is a silver lining in its exposure, it's that many prominent North Dakota Republicans are now speaking out against it.
"The anti-LGBT statements in the NDGOP resolutions are indefensible, embarrassing, dangerous and certainly do not represent my views and I doubt the views of a majority of North Dakotans. Which is why I voted against them as a delegate. We have to be better than this," Insurance Commissioner Jon Godread tweeted.
The anti-LGBT statements in the NDGOP resolutions are indefensible, embarassing, dangerous and certainly do not represent my views and I doubt the views of a majority of North Dakotans. Which is why I voted against them as a delegate. We have to be better than this.— Jon Godfread (@NdGodfread) July 23, 2020
"There is a difference between promoting religious liberty and promoting hateful and divisive rhetoric. There is a difference between science and junk science. The NDGOP Anti-LGBT resolution failed to recognize any of these differences. We need to do a lot better," Congressman Kelly Armstrong tweeted.
There is a difference between promoting religious liberty and promoting hateful and divisive rhetoric. There is a difference between science and junk science. The NDGOP Anti-LGBT resolution failed to recognize any of these differences. We need to do a lot better.— Kelly Armstrong (@Armstrong_ND) July 23, 2020
"As I've long said, all North Dakotans deserve to be treated equally and live free of discrimination. There's no place for the hurtful and divisive rhetoric in the NDGOP resolutions," Gov. Doug Burgum tweeted.
As I’ve long said, all North Dakotans deserve to be treated equally and live free of discrimination. There’s no place for the hurtful and divisive rhetoric in the NDGOP resolutions. 1/2— Gov. Doug Burgum (@DougBurgum) July 23, 2020
Even the NDGOP's executive director, Corby Kemmer, apologized for the language. "The intent of the delegates was to stand up for individual and religious liberties, and, unfortunately, this language falls woefully short of that goal," Kemmer said. "We regret any offense this may have caused, and we will be reconsidering this resolution at a future meeting to bring it more in line with what delegates were attempting to communicate."
This is a positive shift. For a long time, these sorts of sentiments have been tolerated within the NDGOP. Perhaps because, in past years, public attitudes about the LGBT community hadn't shifted enough yet. Also, I can tell you that many Republicans have said to me over the years that the party needs to be a "big tent" that encompasses a lot of diverse views.
There is some sense in that latter attitude. Political movements win through addition, not subtraction. When a movement starts purging members, it usually starts losing.
But does any political movement need a tent so large it includes bigots?
I'm reminded of the "southern strategy" of the 1960s and 1970s, which saw the Republican party of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas and Jackie Robinson recruit racist southern Democrats to its cause.
I guess that was a "big tent" policy, too. One the Republican party is still paying for today in lost credibility with Black Americans.
Back to the matter at hand, the NDGOP needs to do more than just repudiate the words in its resolutions passed by its delegates. It needs to explore who is responsible for those resolutions and consider whether the party wants to continue associating themselves with those people.
What's more, the NDGOP needs to do some outreach to the LGBT community. Believe it or not, there are a lot of gay Republicans out there. I know many of them, though often they don't out themselves as Republicans, and they struggle to vote Republican because of the party's traditional endorsement of anti-LGBT positions.
If the NDGOP is worried about losing the support of social conservatives still clinging to ignorant and archaic views, they should know that there are a lot of people who could be won over by the repudiation of those views.
To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com
Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.