MINOT, N.D. -- Earlier this week reporter Jeremy Turley's story about anti-LGBT language in the North Dakota Republican Party's 2020 resolutions caused quite a stir. It prompted several prominent Republicans to speak out against it.
But that language has been in the NDGOP's resolutions for years.
It was first adopted in 2016 and, according to one party activist I spoke to who provided supporting documents, it may not even have been discussed in detail by the party's resolutions committee this year.
"Our task was to determine which resos were put before the delegates at the state convention. The controversial one was passed in 2016 originally. It appears based on the agenda it may have not actually been discussed by the committee in 2020," my source told me.
The anti-LGBT language was Resolution 37 for the NDGOP this year. As you can see in the document below, but it was not on the discussion agenda provided by committee chairman Mike Lefor ahead of the meeting to approve them.
Still, even if the committee didn't discuss this specific resolution before approval, it did undergo some minor grammatic edits, something Lefor noted in his memo to other committee members. What's more, Lefor says committee members recommended these changes.
"As we look forward to our state resolutions committee meeting in Bismarck tomorrow, we have a few updates for you. First, the task force has reviewed all the resolution changes recommended by members of the committee. Many were grammatical changes, which we then moved into the main document," Lefor wrote in the Feb. 14 memo. "Some were policy changes which we felt needed further clarification from the author of the change."
This hateful language -- which among other ignorant proclamations claimed that "many LGBT practices" are "unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large" -- was not only passed by the NDGOP in 2016 but was reviewed and even edited in minor ways in 2018 and 2020.
The problem is that not very many people pay attention to the party's resolutions. It's a very down-in-the-weeds process. People who have served on the resolutions committee have described the experience as tedious and pointless since, again, as a practical matter, nobody seems to care much about the resolutions.
Still, the resolutions are a statement of the party's philosophy and intent, and it may be time for more scrutiny on just what sort of pronouncements are representing the party.
Also, it's time for Republicans to stop being complacent about anti-gay sentiment in the party. Yes, many Republicans have come out in recent days to denounce this language, but where were they in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019?
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at email@example.com.