Republican North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill Monday that allows government employees to ignore the pronouns request by their transgender colleagues and prohibit transgender public school students from using the bathroom of their choice, unless they have approval from a parent or legal guardian.
Burgum said Monday the law, which takes effect immediately, “largely codifies existing practices while reaffirming the First Amendment right to free speech,” The Hill reported. He said the legislation balances the “rights and interests of students, parents and teachers.”
A late Senate amendment to the bill added in pieces of a different bill vetoed by Burgum in March, The Bismarck Tribune reported. Those provisions block school districts from creating policies to accommodate transgender students unless parents give explicit permission. Teachers also are prohibited from withholding information about students’ “transgender status” from parents.
The legislation, HB 1522, passed the House (68-22) on April 25 and Senate (40-6) on April 27 by veto-proof margins.
Last month, North Dakota became the fourth state to make providing gender-transition care to transgender minors a felony and joined 20 other states in banning transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams with biological females.
American Civil Liberties Union lobbyist Cody Schuler said the new law illegally discriminates against transgender youth and puts them at risk of harassment and violence in bathrooms that don't match their gender identity, The Bismarck Tribune reported.
“It doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights to share spaces with those who are different," Schuler said in a statement. "Like previous efforts to expel people of color, people with disabilities, and others from communal spaces, these arguments for privacy and safety just mask a fear of difference. The fight for trans rights is not about ‘special rights’ — it’s about fundamental rights. It’s about fairness and equality for all.”
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