To: Senate Judiciary Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: Senate Bill 2252
Date: February 6, 2013

The Catholic Church affirms the God-given dignity of every human life and rejects unjust discrimination. Acts of violence, degradation, or diminishment toward any human person, including anyone with a homosexual inclination, are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

There is no place for arbitrary discrimination and prejudice against a person because of sexual attraction. We especially deplore violence and harassment directed against such persons. Moreover, all human persons, including those with homosexual inclinations, have a right to obtain employment and housing.

We recognize that some people have a same sex attraction. This tendency is not in itself immoral or sinful. However, like all sexual activity outside of marriage, homosexual activity, as distinguished from homosexual tendency, is morally wrong. A corollary of this teaching of the Church is that patterns of life, sometimes referred to as “lifestyles,” that encourage or normalize immoral behavior are also morally objectionable. This is particularly true of those patterns that encourage, promote, or advocate sexual activity outside of marriage.

Based on these principles, we cannot support SB 2252. The unique legal status granted by the bill’s definition of sexual orientation appears to encompass not only homosexual inclinations, but also other sexual activities, homosexual or heterosexual, outside of marriage. Civil rights categories should not be used to cover a particular group’s sexual activities. Current law already protects lawful activities outside the place of employment. This bill, however, would create special protection for a certain class of sexual activities.

This raises serious policy questions when we consider that current law does not provide protection to other activities and thoughts. Perhaps this is why most of the states have rejected similar legislation.

We realize this is an emotionally-charged issue. Respect and cooperation, however, among people with legitimate differences of opinion is what makes North Dakota great. There is no place for hate, name-calling, or stereotyping by people on either side of this issue or this particular bill. Keeping those principles in mind we urge this committee to carefully review what this bill actually does and give it a Do Not Pass recommendation.