Legislation that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation was shot down by the North Dakota Senate on Friday (January 25th).

The bill, which was meant to aim at prohibiting discrimination in housing and employment, was voted down 20-27.

Proponents of the bill were looking to add sexual orientation to the list of protections that currently cover race, sex, national origin and other factors with hopes of sending a welcoming message to the LGBT community and help prevent people from being fired from their job because of employer prejudices.

Bismarck Democratic Sen. Erin Oban, who voted for the bill stated:

Do we really want to keep all homegrown North Dakotans here and open our arms to new ones, or don't we?...This is not a partisan issue. ... It's not an issue that requires political courage.

Opponents of the bill warned that the legislation would bring about "broader consequences." They also said they don't endorse discrimination, but were unconvinced the bill could prevent it, according to the Jamestown Sun.

The Republican-led Legislature has now rejected such a proposal for the fifth time in the past 10 years.

There was no comment from Republican Gov. Doug Burgum after the bill was voted down, but a spokesman referenced a previous statement from the governor saying, "all North Dakotans deserve to be treated equally and live free of discrimination."

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