North Dakota Senate Sends Anti-LGBTQ House Bill 1503 to Governor’s Desk

by Wyatt Ronan

NORTH DAKOTA — Yesterday, the North Dakota Speaker of the House signed House Bill 1503 — legislation that would allow student groups at colleges, universities, and high schools to discriminate against LGBTQ students. The bill now heads to Gov. Doug Burgum’s desk for consideration.

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 legislators shameful decision to pass this discriminatory bill jeopardizes non-discrimination policies at colleges, universities, and high schools across the state. No student should fear being discriminated against at school because they are LGBTQ. If this bill is signed, student organizations could 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 legislation undermines inclusive college and university non-discrimination policies, and in practice, means students will be denied full access to and enjoyment of educational, social, and leadership opportunities typically offered by colleges and universities.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

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