North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum Signs Anti-LGBTQ House Bill 1503 Into Law

by Wyatt Ronan

NORTH DAKOTA — Today, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed House Bill 1503 into law — legislation that allows student groups at colleges, universities, and high schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students.

Many public colleges and universities have long had “all-comers” policies that require student organizations receiving financial and other support from the institution not to discriminate against students based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. These policies allow all members of the student body to participate in student organizations and prevent such organizations from discriminating against students with state funding. The Supreme Court upheld these all-comers policies as constitutional in the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez decision in 2010.

North Dakota HB 1503, in part, undermines inclusive “all-comers” policies at North Dakota public colleges and universities, by allowing student organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ students under the guise of free speech.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s shameful decision to sign this discriminatory bill undermines non-discrimination policies at colleges, universities, and high schools across the state. Student organizations can now choose to turn away a range of potential members and leaders—from LGBTQ students to students of particular gender, race, or religious belief—and still receive state funding. This law is nothing more than a harmful attempt by Gov. Doug Burgum and North Dakota legislators to discriminate against LGBTQ and other marginalized communities. No student should be denied full access to and enjoyment of educational, social, and leadership opportunities typically offered by colleges and universities because of who they are.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

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