The day after the anti-discrimination bill SB2279 was defeated, many were shocked and delighted to see the cover of the area’s largest and very conservative newspaper, the Forum, publish the pictures and names of every single representative and how they voted.
To give you an idea of how conservative this newspaper is, it ran editorial endorsements of every single Republican candidate for the North Dakota 2014 midterms. Up until very recently, there was an entire print section of the paper called “She Says” which was seemingly for the little ladies of the house to learn how to cook, take care of the kids, and find work-life balance. It seemed a small victory for area activists when the print section of “She Says” was discontinued, but was still available online. Prior to Thursday’s vote, the Forum had published its editorial on the discrimination bill which you can read here: http://www.inforum.com/opinion/editorials/3707014-forum-editorial-pass-nd-housing-jobs-bill.
In the days leading up to the house vote, there was tremendous excitement that the bill had passed the senate and moved to the house. The Republican-dominated house committee recommended a “do not pass” for the bill, leading to many North Dakota citizens to contact their reps (including yours truly) to demand a yes vote. Many did not hear back from their reps (including me). It was very disappointing and yet not surprising to see the photos of my representatives, Kim Koppelman and Chris Olson on the front page of the newspaper next to the headline “ND denies protection for gays”. I wonder how many others saw their reps faces and thought the same as I did, who are they representing? Clearly, it’s not the people of North Dakota.
Interesting to note, there were a few prominent conservatives who blasted the paper for what it called “bullying” and “berating” legislators. I can’t help but think, huh….you mean the same way they just voted it was ok to bully and berate anyone based on sexual orientation? Gentlemen that is irony. They also laughingly called this North Dakota newspaper, left-leaning. It seems strange that anyone who believes in equal protections under the law is just a “damn liberal” and not—oh you know—a rational, compassionate, and logical human being. Even the governor of North Dakota, Jack Dalrymple came out publicly with his disappointment over the house failure to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination. http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2015/04/north-dakota-gop-governor-wants-ban-on-anti-gay-discrimination/
So, here’s a big THANK YOU to the editors of the Forum for taking a stand for the people of North Dakota. If our legislators no longer represent us, it seems we must appeal to the media.