Grand Forks City Council OKs protection against discrimination on basis of sexual orientation, gender identity

Story by Tu-Uyen Tran

The city of Grand Forks’ law forbidding city government from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity was passed by the City Council Monday.

All council members except Terry Bjerke voted “yes” on the law’s final reading.

It’s the first such law passed by a city in North Dakota. Council member Bret Weber said he’s “proud” of the council’s action. Council President Hal Gershman said a friend of his from out of state told him that Grand Forks has gained respect in the friend’s heart.

Bjerke said he worried about “unintended consequences” of the law, citing a news story about a transgender girl who sued and won the right to use the girl’s restroom at a Colorado school.

Boathouse approved

A proposed boathouse on the Grand Forks side of the Red River got the thumbs-up from the City Council Monday.

Ground UP Adventures, a local group dedicated to outdoor activities, plans to rent out canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and bikes.

Andy Magness, the group’s chairman, said he’s still raising money for the estimated $90,000 project. He’s working with the state tourism office, the city, JLG Architects, Cabela’s, Scheels and the Ski & Bike Shop, some of which are providing in-kind services or equipment, but he estimated there’s still about $20,000 left to raise.

The facility could be ready to open as early as August, he has said.

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