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Governor’s Veto of SB 2231 Leaves Parents’ Rights Unprotected

March 30, 2023

Christopher Dodson, Executive Director and General Counsel, of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, issued the following statement on Governor Doug Burgum’s veto of Senate Bill 2231:

The North Dakota Catholic Conference is disappointed with Governor Burgum’s veto of Senate Bill 2231.

The sponsors of Senate Bill 2231 had two main purposes. The first was to prevent government entities from forcing pronoun policies on public employees. The second was to protect the rights of parents when it comes to public school policies concerning their children.

We are pleased that Governor Burgum’s veto statement affirms that the First Amendment prohibits government entities from mandating pronoun policies on its employees, including public school teachers. All state agencies, political subdivisions, and public school districts should act accordingly.

The Governor’s veto of SB 2231, however, disregards the rights of parents. At least one public school district in the state adopted a policy that prohibits teachers and staff from revealing a student’s “transgender status” and preferred pronoun to the student’s own parents. This infringement upon parental rights should not happen in North Dakota.

Throughout this session, legislators have heard about the struggles youth with gender identity issues face. The Governor is correct when he states that “parents, teachers, and administrators” can help those students with compassion, empathy, and common sense. His veto of SB 2231, however, allows public schools to intentionally keep parents in the dark and uninvolved in their child’s own lives.

We hope that the Legislative Assembly protects parental rights and overrides the Governor’s veto.

What We Do

The North Dakota Catholic Conference acts on behalf of the Roman Catholic bishops of North Dakota to respond to public policy issues of concern to the Catholic Church and to educate Catholics and the general public about Catholic social doctrine.
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