The Forum of Fargo takes a look at how gay couples fare on the Bakken oil fields:
Last month, the state Legislature defeated an anti-discrimination bill for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents and couples. Still, new residents are joining the gay community in North Dakota looking for new beginnings.
As the country awaits the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage—a decision is not expected before late June—gay, married couples are making strides and gaining acceptance in small communities in North Dakota.
Their forays into schools, churches and newspapers have not been without some concern, and even fear, on their part. For many, the transition is not all about sexual orientation, it’s about being a North Dakotan.
“I don’t know why anyone would feel trepidation about moving to North Dakota. Once you get acclimated to the weather, it’s a great time,” said Ramona Capps, of Underwood.
Here is the story of two couples—one in Bowman, the other in Underwood—and their journey in creating a new home.
The Bismarck Tribune interviewed a gay couple on Bakken, who came out in the local newspaper:
When Bryce Martin decided to come out as gay and married, he did it in the local newspaper.
Martin is editor of the Bowman County Pioneer, a weekly newspaper in Bowman, and all 1,500 subscribers learned of his lifestyle with the same stroke of his editorial pen a few weeks ago.
He figured, if he was upset when the Legislature did not approve an anti-discrimination bill for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, the least he could do was use himself as an example.
After all, he says he and his partner are as hard working and contribute as much as anyone else to their small town, so what’s with the second-class status?
“Enough is enough,” he was thinking as he tapped out the words that would soon be etched in ink. “I was terrified how people would respond.”
If he was expecting a bomb, he barely lit the fuse. He got some “atta boy” emails, Facebook and text messages, and two from gay, former Bowman residents who said their own experiences in years past had been a nightmare.
The Jamestown Sun asked local lawmakers on their positions on a non-discrimination bill:
Jill Shafer of Jamestown asked “If you voted against the bill that would ban discrimination against sexual orientation, explain why you felt it is OK for someone to be fired or evicted because of whom they love?”
Shafer was referring to Senate Bill 2279 which would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Senate approved the bill 25-22 in February, but it was defeated in the House 35-56. Wanzek, Pollert, Headland and Looysen voted against the bill; Haak and Grabinger voted for it.
Wanzek said he is never for discrimination, but he felt the way the bill was worded would have created more problems. He said he hasn’t heard of a lot of cases in North Dakota involving people being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
“I tend to lean toward traditional family values,” he said. “I saw this more as providing special protection versus equal protection. I just didn’t think it was necessary to vote for this law.”
Looysen said he agreed with Wanzek.
Grabinger said he was one of the bill’s sponsors and he doesn’t believe discrimination should be allowed in any case.
“It may not be a huge problem in North Dakota,” he said about sexual orientation discrimination. “But, if it was your son, your brother, your family that was being discriminated against, then it’s a huge problem.”
Headland said the problem he had with the bill was people have different perceptions and putting the word “perceived” in the North Dakota Century Code would only create problems.
In Iowa, Jeb Bush told Pat Robertson’s CBN News that he doesn’t think equality in marriage is supported in the U.S. Constitution:
David Brody: Conservative Christians are real concerned about the culture nowadays, especially on the marriage issue. They want a candidate that is going to fight on this issue. Are you their guy because they are concerned about the marriage issue?
Jeb Bush: “Well, I’m concerned about it as well. I think traditional marriage is a sacrament. It’s talking about being formed by one’s faith, it’s at the core of the catholic faith and to imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, committed child-centered family system is hard to imagine. So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling because they are going to decide whatever they decide, I don’t know what they are going to do, we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage.”
Jeb Bush: “We have to restore committed, loving family life with a mom and dad loving their children with their heart and soul.”
David Brody: Do you believe there should be a constitutional right to same-sex marriage because that’s the argument in front of the Supreme Court?
Jeb Bush: “I don’t but I’m not a lawyer and clearly this has been accelerated at a warp pace. What’s interesting is four years ago Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had the same view that I just expressed to you. It’s thousands of years of culture and history is just being changed at warps speed. It’s hard to fathom why it is this way.”
Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina sat down with conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts to talk about marriage equality:
Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who announced her candidacy earlier this month, spoke with the blog Caffeinated Thoughts last week and was asked: if the Supreme Court strikes down state laws banning gay marriage would she support a hypothetical amendment overturning the decision.
“I think the Supreme Court ruling will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reverse it,” said Fiorina.
“I very much hope that we would come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision, and at the same time support people to have, to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views.”
A couple is filing suit against the State of Wisconsin because the health department refuses to allow both parents on the birth certificate WKOW reports:
A same-sex couple in Madison filed a federal lawsuit, requesting that the birth certificate of their newborn son include both mothers.
“We were equal parents before he was even conceived, but then once he was born it became clear that at least as far as the state was concerned, I didn’t exist,” said Jessamy Torres.
“She’s a legal stranger to him,” added Chelsea Torres, Jessamy’s wife.
When Chelsea gave birth to a son, conceived using a sperm donor, Jessamy put her information on the “father” side of the birth certificate.
“We just got a paper back from them [The Wisconsin Department of Health Services] that showed what would be on his birth certificate and all of my information was just completely omitted from it,” Jessamy said.