Grand Forks considering housing protections for gays

Little more than a week after passing protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation for Grand Forks city employees, another proposed law establishing similar safeguards for housing will be coming to City Council.

This law would prohibit the discrimination against a person based on sexual orientation or gender identity during the sale, purchase, lease or rental of any housing unit or in the terms and conditions, maintenance, improvement or repair of any housing unit.

“The City Council finds that discrimination in housing accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity fosters intolerance and injures the public welfare,” reads the law’s introduction.

Exemptions to the law include rooms rented in single-family homes, religious institutions and churches and state and federally-owned properties.

Last week, the council approved a measure protecting city employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, becoming the first city in North Dakota to do so, according to council members.

Residents present at that meeting called for employment and housing discrimination protection for all city residents.

City Attorney Howard Swanson told council members the city doesn’t have the authority to extend these rights to employees at private businesses. That would be up to the state or federal government.

The housing law was scheduled to be reviewed and given preliminary approval from the council’ s finance committee Monday night, but the committee’s meeting has been cancelled because of a lack of quorum.

The full council likely won’t see the law on its agenda until mid-July. You can review the proposed law here.


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