House Human Services Committee
Testimony in Opposition to HB 1386
Linda Thorson, Concerned Women for America of North Dakota
February 1, 2017
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, my name is Linda Thorson, and I am the 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 HB 1386.
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 devised a three-part test to determine whether a class of persons qualifies as a true minority: 1.) They must be defined by an immutable characteristic (unchangeable, like skin color); 2.) they must be economically deprived, and 3.) they must suffer from a history of discrimination and political powerlessness. Sexual orientation fits into none of these requisite categories. Instead, multiple studies 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 and businesses 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 at that given time.
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 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.
HB 1386 creates discrimination. 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. If we look closely at the term “sexual orientation,” it is a radical challenge to the beliefs of all major religious faiths because it attacks and opposes 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, it follows there are no good choices or bad choices, just inclination. There is no longer any definition of the two sexes. HB 1386 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.
Dr. Ben Carson, nominee for the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, said, “I think all Americans should be protected under the law. What I have said before is I don’t think anyone should get extra rights.” 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. Both federal and North Dakota law already prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment. If HB 1386 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, 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 and our children and even our houses of worship creating a society that no longer has “equal under the 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 moral boundaries and allowing the further sexualization of our public square.
Allow us to state that it should be the personal duty of all citizens to behave in such respectful manner toward 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 HB 1386. Your consideration of this request is appreciated.