To the Senate Judiciary Committee
In Opposition of SB 2279
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Linda Thorson, and I am the interim State Director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of North Dakota. CWA is the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation. We are here today on behalf of our North Dakota members in opposition to SB2279.
We fail to see the evidence that sexual orientation and “gender identity” meets the criteria set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court defining a minority. The Court has devised a three‐part test to determine whether a class of persons qualifies as a true minority: They must be defined by an immutable characteristic (unchangeable, like skin color); they must be economically deprived, and they must suffer from a history of discrimination and political powerlessness. Sexual orientation fits into none of these requisite categories. Instead, the facts show that sexual behavior is changeable, that those who practice non‐traditional sexual preference are largely affluent, and that their activists represent one of the most powerful lobbies in the world per capita.
Special rights have historically been afforded to certain groups in order to ensure that individuals are not discriminated against due to immutable characteristics. North Dakota law already protects these characteristics. Further, the bill has no exemptions for those with personal convictions, thus forcing individuals to accept and support sexual behaviors with which they disagree.
In the case of sexual orientation and “gender identity”, the proposed addition to discrimination statutes is based on an undefined behavior. This is a dangerous precedent affecting public policy regarding marriage, families and the culture in general. A chosen behavior should not be the basis for changing law. Adding “gender identity” as an expression of self‐image or identity not associated with one’s biological gender forces North Dakota’s’ employers and citizens to pretend, by force of law, that a man is a woman or vice versa based on that person’s self‐perception or behavior.
This bill places sexual orientation and self‐perceived gender identity not as a protected class, but as a privileged group. Sexual orientation and other manifestations of gender identity do not fit into what constitutes a true minority and should not be added to laws dealing with discrimination. North Dakota citizens are already protected equally under the law, and by responding to the emotions or perceived political correctness of the propaganda put forth nationwide as it relates to “sexual orientation”, defining it in law is a scary Pandora’s Box of faulty law writing. The strategy behind promoting these types of unconstitutional laws across the nation is this: Transform morality into a form of bigotry and
then use corporate and government power to eliminate that “bigotry.” The goal is to alter America’s cultural values and use “bigotry” as a threat in the process of elevating a certain group to protected status above others based on sexual behaviors.
SB2279 actually creates discrimination. In general, when “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” is added to a legal or corporate nondiscrimination code, it is a giant step toward the adoption of policies that discriminate against people with traditional views. Indeed, if we look closely at the term “sexual orientation” itself, it is really a radical challenge to the beliefs of all major religious faiths because it attacks the notion that sexual behavior has moral dimensions. According to the therapeutic manual of the American Psychiatric Association, there are at least 23 distinctive sexual variations of “sexual orientation,” and perhaps many more. It includes pedophilia, voyeurism, and exhibitionism, just to name a few. (See attachment) Since the underlying concept of “sexual orientation” is that all sexual behavior is equally valid, there
are no good choices or bad choices, just inclinations. There is no longer any definition of the two sexes. SB2279 would
force the acceptance of any “inclination.” Private businesses and organizations should not be forced by the state to set aside their moral or religious principles, based upon someone’s proposed rights due to the individual’s sexual behavior.
This law would not protect rights but would rather grant special privileges based strictly on someone’s sexual behavior. Further, those privileges would have a significant impact on the constitutional rights of North Dakotans who may have a moral objection to certain sexual behavior. Other states which have passed similar laws have faced numerous lawsuits, including some filed by individuals claiming the right to use a restroom or other public space reserved for the opposite sex. Both federal and North Dakota law already prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment. If SB 2279 becomes law, it will communicate to the citizens of North Dakota that the political agenda of a few is more important than
the time‐honored and cherished First Amendment principles upon which our country was founded and promised to everyone. Should sexual preference now trump the rights of free speech and freedom of religion?
It may be claimed to be politically incorrect, or even old fashioned, but should what happens between two consenting adults in privacy even be of public and legislative discussion or concern? We think not. If we allow “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to become a matter of laws and policies, it will reach our workplaces, our schools, our families, our children and even our houses of worship creating a society that no longer has “equal under law” as a principle. This will surely challenge the common sense, strength of character and founding principles on which this great nation and state were built. The liberties we now all enjoy, regardless of sexual orientation, will all stand defenseless against this
discriminatory proposed law. It will have a negative effect on our society, removing all moral boundaries, and allowing further sexualization of our public square.
Allow us also to state that it should be the personal duty of all citizens to behave in such respectful manner towards fellow citizens, without being compelled or directed by law, so as to afford all the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. We should all strive to behave in such a way. We, again, urge your “Do Not Pass” vote on SB2279. Your consideration of this request is appreciated.
APPENDIX OF SEXUAL BEHAVIORS
WARNING: some of the descriptions may be offensive to readers’ sensibilities.
[Page numbers are from ” Paraphilias,” Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth
Edition, Text Revision (Washington: American Psychiatric Association, 2000), pp. 566‐582.] 1. Heterosexuality: the universal norm: sexual interaction with the opposite sex.
2. Homosexuality or “Gay”: sexual interaction with persons of the same sex.
3. Bisexuality: sexual interaction with both males and females.
4. Transgenderism: an umbrella term referring to and/or covering transvestitism, drag
queen/kings, and transsexualism.
5. Pedophilia: “sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger). The
individual with Pedophilia must be age 16 years or older and at least 5 years older than the child. For
individuals in late adolescence with Pedophilia, no precise age difference is specified, and clinical
judgment must be used; both the sexual maturity of the child and the age difference must be taken into
6. Transsexuality: the condition in which a person’s “gender” identity is different from his or her
7. Transvestitism: the condition in which a person is sexually stimulated or gratified by wearing the
clothes of the other sex.
8. Transvestic fetishism: for males, “intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors
involving cross‐dressing.” (p. 575)
9. Autogynephilia: the sexual arousal of a man by his own perception of himself as a woman or
dressed as a woman. (p. 574)