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ND Gov. Burgum vetoes bill regulating pronoun use in schools

The ACLU of North Dakota praised the veto.

Published: March 30, 2023 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed a bill Thursday that would have banned school districts from enacting policies about pronoun use.

Senate Bill 2331 would have also protected teachers from being forced to use preferred pronouns. The governor said in his veto letter that the First Amendment already protects teachers.

The second part of the bill would have led to lawsuits and put teachers in "a precarious position," Burgum said.

"Further, the First Amendment already prohibits compelled speech and protects teachers from speaking contrary to their beliefs and courts across the country have upheld these rights," Burgum said in the veto letter. "The teaching profession is challenging enough without the heavy hand of state government forcing teachers to take on the role of pronoun police."

The ACLU of North Dakota praised the veto.

"Discriminatory bills like Senate Bill 2231 are motivated by ignorance, misinformation and fear," the organization said in a Twitter post. We're thrilled with Gov. Burgum's decision to veto this bill."

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, vetoed a comprehensive bill that included the prohibition of pronoun policies in public schools. The bill also banned gender transition surgeries for minors. The Kentucky Legislature voted to override the governor's veto this week.

The North Dakota Senate will decide if Burgum's veto stands. A two-thirds vote is needed. The bill initially passed the Senate by a 34-12 vote.

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