Council Discussion Heats Up Over Anti-Discrimination BillA heated discussion over sexual orientation tonight left some city leaders and community members fuming over their beliefs.
By: Melanie Orlins, WDAZ
A heated discussion over sexual orientation tonight left some city leaders and community members fuming over their beliefs. The state voted down Senate bill 2252 last Thursday. The bill would have added sexual orientation to the list of banned discriminatory practices -- protecting gays, lesbians and bisexuals from getting fired and evicted from their homes. City council supported this legislation in a vote six to one. But since the bill was voted down at the state level, supporters of this bill want to enforce the policy locally and some community members believes it infringes on their rights.
The majority of city councilmen believe it's an issue over treating people fairly. Councilman Dana Sande, "It's actually hard to believe but we still live in a time where not everyone is treated the same." The only councilman to dissent the resolution, Terry Bjerke says he doesn't like the way the law is currently written so he doesn't want to add to it.
Bjerke: "You do take away property rights you do take away economic rights you do take away religious rights when you mandate things like this." Other community members agree.
Keith Becker, Grand Forks Pastor, "I think that's what the state legislators did is they thought about the contentions with the first amendment."
Paul Nelson, "I think passing a resolution is intruding on the rights of our business people."
Councilman Weber believes eventually the state will add sexual orientation to the list. Weber, "At some point we will come to a state where we can no longer even imagine why this would have even been legal to discriminate against individuals?"
The city will continue its discussions like it does with any other issue -- talk about it in a committee then bring it to council -- and see if there is any way to enforce such legislation.