Port: Burgum’s veto of the pronouns bill is what limited government conservatism looks like


MINOT, N.D. — It is discouraging to watch conservatives, self-described champions of limited government, scramble to use the awesome power of government to prosecute a culture war. This legislative session, we’ve seen dozens of grubby bills in Bismarck — from book bans to pronoun regulations — that, if we’re being honest, are all rooted in a deep-seated discomfort with the LGBTQ+ community.

This, we’re told, is conservatism, though it’s hard to discern what any of it has to do with limiting government.

Today Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed one of those bills . Specifically, Senate Bill 2231, which would have regulated pronoun use in state government and schools. It would have also prohibited teachers from receiving training, and schools from enacting policies, recognizing that transgenderism is a thing that exists.

Burgum’s reasoning is rooted in limited government principles. The legislation “infringes on local control by unnecessarily injecting the state into rare instances most appropriately handled at the parent, teacher and school district level,” he wrote in his veto letter. The bill also “removes discretion from school boards, schools and teachers in determining how to accommodate the needs of all students in public schools.”

He also argues that the legislation is unnecessary because teachers, like the rest of us, already have First Amendment protections against state-compelled speech.

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