Guest Post: Protect North Dakota Gays From Discrimination

gay pride(4)

I consider myself a Republican and I deeply support SB 2252 which would protect members of the LGBT community against discrimination in employment and housing. I support this bill because of my republicanism. I believe in one’s right and control of property. I feel that it would be unjust for a landlord to kick out a tenant because they were gay. All tenants should have what Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story termed as a “free enjoyment of their property.” Consider a cognitive exercise: Should landlords be able to kick out their tenants for any legal behavior that occurs inside their home? What about a landlord that disagrees with their tenant in regards to gun control? Would that be ok?

For the sake of this argument let’s just assume that homosexuality is entirely a choice. Even if this assumption were true then my belief in the free exercise of conscience and thought prevails. One has a right to do or think as they please in their home as long as it is legal. Homosexuality is not illegal. It is also unjust for someone to be fired from a job due to their outside-of-work legal activity. This bill does protect churches and other religious organizations to be free to hire those that share their religious beliefs.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (often referred to as ‘Mormons’) and I remain unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman. SB 2252 has nothing to do with marriage. Per the North Dakota Constitution, marriage “consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman” (N.D. Const. Art. XI, § 28) and that will only be changed by a voter referendum or the US Supreme Court.

I support this bill because it is fair and reasonable. I urge North Dakota House Republicans to overcome their initial disapproval to this bill and think about what the right of property really means to them.

Tim Heise is a law student at the Unviersity of North Dakota

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  • ec99

    I will preface my comment by saying that judging people on anything other than their qualities as human beings is inane, a trap your own church was enmeshed in for over a century. But, on the other hand, we also come up against the question of property rights. Should an owner have the freedom of determining who rents? Some refuse tenants on govt subsidies. Others do not allow pets. (And, no, I am not equating gays to animals.) So, how do you preserve the rights of all? Or is that impossible?

    • Tim Heise

      Correct the Mormon church did not allow blacks to have the presthood from the mid 1850s to 1978. I do not see how that applies herein.

      The owner does have the freedom to determine who rents but that freedom is limited. An owner can not discriminate in a real estate transaction because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, familial status, national origin, and/or status with respect to marriage or public assistance. (NDCC 14-02.5-07)
      It is a gray area. We cannot preserve the freedoms of all. One persons freedoms can easily overlap anothers.

      • ec99

        Read my first phrase: “judging people on anything other than their qualities…”, which what exactly the LDS didn’t do. But if you know the history of your church, you also know what context generated it.

        • Tim Heise

          ok

      • Guest

        And how about women? Maybe 2078?

      • Guest

        How about gays? Maybe 2013?

  • Clarence A. Herz

    If you want the rigth to be lgbt in your own home then buy your own home. Do not landlords have rights based on their religious beliefs?

    • Tim Heise

      Per NDCC 14-02.5-07. A Residential real estate-related transaction may not discriminate b/c of religion among other things. So a landlord can not kick out a hindu for being a hindu.
      But could a landlord kick out a woman for having an abortion and abortions are against the landlords faith? I’d argue no as well. I serious doubt that ND has any caselaw on this but the tenant would ultimatly win in this example.
      So the answer is not as much as you think.

  • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

    Special laws for gay people. If you fire a heterosexual they can’t do anything about it. But if you fire a homosexual they can claim they were discriminated against and it’s up to the employer to prove that they weren’t.

    • Tim Heise

      actually this bill would protect heterosexuals as well.

      • ec99

        Wasn’t there a fairly recent court decision in ND that upheld the idea that a landlord could refuse to rent to an unmarried hetero couple of the opposite sex?

      • http://Sayanythingblog.com The Whistler

        Yeah, right.

        • Guest

          It is right, the damn text of the legislation was linked in the post. Unless heterosexual isn’t a “sexual orientation,” it is covered under the law as well.

  • The Fighting Czech

    I believe property rights include selling or renting to whom ever the property owner wishes. I got an idea, go invest in some housing, and rent it to whom ever you want….no one will stop you. no one will even care……Matter solved, .No need to distract our legislators with even more frivolous proposals….

    • Tim Heise

      so you believe that a landlord can refuse to rent to blacks?

      • The Fighting Czech

        I believe a landlord should be able to rent to who ever they want to… I still maintain that 99% of the landlords in this country will rent to who ever can 1) pay the rent on time. 2) not piss the neighbors off. and 3) refrain from wrecking stuff
        all discrimination laws current seem to do, is enable, and in fact reward some bad people who happen to be a minority to act badly. Which in turn forces Landlords to do a little amateur profiling. to prevent income and property loss.
        If Landlords could quickly and readily boot the people who 1) dont pay the rent, 2) piss off the neighbors, or 3) likes to wreck stuff, There might be a lot less need to profile and a willingness to take more of a “chance” with prospective renters.

        • Tim Heise

          . . . so your ok with landlords refusing to rent to blacks and jews?

          • Guest

            Completely different situation and you know it.

            Don’t try to tell us how conservative you are because you’re LDS. Ronmey is a lib and he cost us the election, now we have four more years of Obama.

            Are you intentionally interjecting your religion into this discussion? Do you want to go there?

          • Tim Heise

            Never said I was conservative. I interjected my religion as an example of how I am against changing the defn of marriage, I can “go” anywhere with you!

          • Guest

            Good! Please explain the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

            “I consider myself a Republican” Ok, if you don’t claim to be a conservative, are you a RINO?

          • the Fighting Czech

            I believe a landlord should be able to rent to who ever they want to… I still maintain that 99% of the landlords in this country will rent to who ever can 1) pay the rent on time. 2) not piss the neighbors off. and 3) refrain from wrecking stuff
            all discrimination laws current seem to do, is enable, and in fact reward some bad people who happen to be a minority to act badly. Which in turn forces Landlords to do a little amateur profiling. to prevent income and property loss.
            If Landlords could quickly and readily boot the people who 1) dont pay the rent, 2) piss off the neighbors, or 3) likes to wreck stuff, There might be a lot less need to profile and a willingness to take more of a “chance” with prospective renters.

            Im not sure if you read my answer or not, so I repeated it.

  • ACF1

    Under the historic Common Law, landlords had unlimited freedom when it came to choosing tenants. They could refuse to rent to anyone for any reason. The CL had this rule because the courts recognized that someone should be able to do whatever they want with their land, after all, they owned it. (Modern law has erroneously changed these historic rules)

    Regarding the quote from Justice Story’s quote, that only applies after a tenant is in a lease. The landlord wants and should be able to discriminate prior to the lease, while he is looking for a tenant. Of course a landlord can’t kick someone out (unless there is a lease clause regarding it). After all, a lease agreement is binding conveyance of a property interest. A landlord could only discriminate prior the conveyance (under the old CL).

    Why do you not want to give the landlord the freedom to do with his land as he chooses? For example, O owns a building and wants to put it on the market to make some money off of it since demand is high (this will also reduce the market price by increasing supply, benefiting tenants). He looks into the laws regarding the matter and finds out that he can’t discriminate based on a person’s orientation. Because he is a devout christian, he believes that he cannot in good conscience rent to someone who does not live by christian values. What is he to do? Should he just violate his faith? Should he not rent, and consequently deprive himself of the benefits that can be obtained with his property? (this would also cause prices to stay higher in the rental market, hurting everyone).

    The fact is, the above scenario should never happen. It is a violation of the landlord’s freedom of religion to force him to rent and do business with people who do things that he is opposed to. Why should he be forced to violate his conscience?

    • Tim Heise

      Currently O could easily violate his faith or brake the law such as maybe O believes that all muslims are terrorists and evil. O would be breaking the law if O does not rent to a muslim based on his/her religion.

      ” Of course a landlord can’t kick someone out” Actually under current law a landlord may kick out a tenant for sexual orientation.

      • ACF1

        No the landlord can’t without some clause in the lease, fraud on the part of the tenant, etc. The lease will be enforced.

        Edit: O would be breaking the law as it stands right now if he didn’t rent to someone based on their religion. What does that have to do with anything I posted? I believe the landlord should be able to rent to who ever he wants to.

  • opinion8ed

    Federally protected like Polar Bears.

  • skipanne

    “It is also unjust for someone to be fired from a job due to their outside-of-work legal activity.” It is also already prohibited by law, so why the need for this legislation?

    • Tim Heise

      how or where is it prohibited by law?

    • http://www.facebook.com/jean.p.katz Jean Pierre Katz

      It is not in any way prohibited by law. Many gay people who have had a job for many years are fired when someone finds out they are gay and tells their employer. I know of a case from last month of a bank teller that worked for 10 years at a bank and was fired only because he was gay.

  • BismarckBigfoot

    Don’t need this to be a law. We need less lawyers and less laws, not more of both.

    • Tim Heise

      Well lucky for society law school applications have decreased a lot.

  • KJUU

    I’ve always been gobsmacked that nearly everyone equates “being gay” with “having sexual relations”. If that’s not the case, then someone who identifies with being gay but does not act upon it should not be discriminated against because of HOW HE THINKS.

    On the other hand, how should a landlord with church-based moral standards be allowed to handle a tenant who identifies with being straight and brings home a different woman every night?

    Which would be worse: the thought-crime or the slutty action?

    • ACF1

      You can’t police a true thought crime. If the person his gay and doesn’t act on it, then it still should be the landlord’s decision on whether or not he wants to discriminate. As for slutty action, of course the landlord should be able to draw that up in the lease and discriminate ahead of time against those people he believes to be sluts. For that matter, plenty of private university have bans against any kind of sexual activity in their housing codes with provisions to kick students who violate them out of school. Its all about the private rights of the person owning the land and freedom of contracting.

    • Dirty Harry

      We are defined by our behavior.

  • nimrod

    My Repulicanism says that a property owner should be able to do anything they want to do with their property. If a property owner only wants to rent to white midget women, they should be able to make that decision.

    • Tim Heise

      ok. The law does not think so. If a owner “opens up” their property by renting it to a member of the public then the owner accepts the limiting of their freedom with the property.

      • Guest

        The law also permits abortion. Do you approve of abortion Mr. Conservative?

        • nimrod

          Of course he does its his republicanism.

          • Tim Heise

            nice

        • Tim Heise

          It depends.

          • VocalYokel

            “It depends.”

            On what?
            Explain the particulars of the heinous acts committed by these unborn children that would allow you to approve of their murder in their Mother’s womb.

          • Guest

            Depends on whether you are running for Massachusetts Governor or President? Depends on who you are talking to and what you want from them?

  • VocalYokel

    “I believe in one’s right and control of property.”

    Precisely.
    And that is why, whether I am offering for rent an apartment, a field, or my favorite hockey skates, I should have the freedom not to lease to someone I deem a sexual pervert, a Democrat, a GB Packers fan, or anyone else that I find undesirable.

    Case closed.

    • Tim Heise

      Case open. So you would be ok with braking the law then!

      • VocalYokel

        I was responding to your quote.

        You cannot have it both ways, stating that you “believe in one’s right and control of property” and then acquiescing that control to government entities.
        Other people’s ‘rights’ does not give them access to or control of my possessions.

        Short of causing actual physical harm to or endangering others, I should be able to with my property as I damn well please.

        And yes, I am for applying the brakes to a great many laws.

    • Dirty Harry

      If you’re a Viking fan, I’d never rent from you! lol

      • VocalYokel

        The only problem with being a Twins / Vikings / Wild fan is that you have to live by the motto…’There’s always next season…’

  • devilschild

    I watch a lot of HGTV. From what I see gay men are some of the best decorators out there. And who would object to two men taking care of a property? From a business standpoint it seems foolish to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jean.p.katz Jean Pierre Katz

    It is wrong that today in North Dakota a veteran returning from serving in Afghanistan can be fired from his job because his employer found out that he or she was gay.

    A landlord of a multi-familiy apartment building has no business in what a tenant does that is lawful. Should a landlord be allowed to not rent to someone because they are divorced? , they are social drinkers and the landlord thinks drinking is a sin? Or because a Christian tenant sleeps in on Sundays? Where would this end?

    • Hal414

      Is it wrong that a 20 yr old veteran returning from serving in Afghanistan can’t have a beer or smoke within 20 feet of an entrance? Where does government interference end?

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