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Letter: The old fashioned bigotry of the GOP

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It is hard to find the words to express the pain the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community, our families, and our friends are experiencing from the hurtful, hateful policies recently passed by the North Dakota Republican Party.

The document causing this uproar is the 2020 Republican platform. It is a collection of both broad ideals and specific legislative goals. It is a blueprint of how Republicans in North Dakota want government to run and society to function. The disturbing language contained in Resolution 31 states, in general, that the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit community is a threat to the health and well-being of society. The reasoning is based on false science, antiquated notions, patent falsehoods, and old fashioned bigotry.

This document surfaced at their state convention four years ago and was likely the result of hours of work by party officials to ensure the wording reflects the exact meaning of the authors and the committee. This year’s platform was made available online to over 900 delegates to the Republican state convention and passed by over a four to one margin (621-139).

When this resolution was brought to light by North Dakota media, several Republican leaders distanced themselves from the policy. Now, the party's Executive Committee has announced it voted last week to “disavow” Resolution 31. However, it has not been brought to the full list of delegates who originally voted to pass the platform.

But how did it get this far?

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How could Gov. Burgum, the most powerful elected official in the state, not denounce this before it passed? Where were Sens. Cramer and Hoeven, State Sen. Wardner, R-Dickinson, and State Rep. Pollert, R-Carrington, and the many other dozens of Republican elected officials? How could they not know about a resolution that contained such controversial, and cruel, language? What message does this send to our LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit youth?

For years we have fought in the state legislature to pass laws protecting all North Dakotans from discrimination. For years we have been shot down. At this point, it is hard to conclude that the Republican platform is an aberration. Maybe the language is there because the North Dakota Republican Party actually supports these disturbing and untrue positions. Maybe this is indeed what they believe of their LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit friends, neighbors, coworkers, family members and children.

If so, besides the immeasurable pain this brings us, it also brings immeasurable sorrow and sadness.

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At a time when national leaders pit American against American and seek to divide us rather than unite us; at a time when hate groups across the country are growing and thriving; at a time when Facebook is overflowing with videos depicting Americans berating and bullying other Americans because of their skin color, their faith, or their nationality; the North Dakota Republican Party is doubling down on sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
Fortunately, a majority of North Dakotans understand this is not “us” versus “them” and that we are all a part of the human family. We all have feelings, beliefs, value and rights.

We encourage the party’s Executive Committee to fully rescind this language by immediately bringing it to a vote by all the delegates who originally voted on this as part of the full platform. We also encourage party officials and activists who placed this language in the Republican platform to reconsider not only their words, but their hearts. The command to love one another does not end at the front porch, the office door or the church entryway. It is universal. It includes all of us.

Pringle of Dakota OutRight wrote this with input from the following people: Barry Nelson, ND Human Rights Coalition; Dane DeKrey, ACLU; Heidi Selzler-Echola, Canopy Medical Clinic; Abdullah Rashid, Chaplains on Call and Emergency Response; Cody Severson, Community UpLift Program; Sean Coffman, Fargo-Moorhead LGBT Film Festival; Christina Lindseth, Fargo-Moorhead Pride; Faye Seidler, Harbor Health Clinic; Kristie Woldd, North Dakota Women's Network; Joe Larson, Pride Collective and Community Center; Linda Hamann, Red River Counseling; Jan Jorgensen, Red River Rainbow Seniors; Katrina Koesterman, Tri-State Transgender; Brian Nunn, United We Transcend; and Alex Johnson, Williston Rainbow Rendezvous.

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