Fargo lawmaker outed after gay discrimination vote

In retaliation for a vote against including gays in anti-discrimination legislation, a Fargo politician has been outed by a man who says he recognized Rep. Randy Boehning from a gay dating smartphone app, the Fargo Forum reports today.

“The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted,” Boehning told the Forum. “I have to confront it at some point.” He had earlier refused to comment on whether explicit images on the site were his.

The ethical question: Is a politician’s private life off limits?

No, says the man who outed Boehning.

“How can you discriminate against the person you’re trying to pick up?” Dustin Smith of Bismarck said about Boehning’s vote.

Boehning said before he voted against the anti-discrimination bill on April 2 a Capitol employee told him a fellow House lawmaker who supported the bill said Boehning would be targeted for retaliation if he didn’t vote for it. The 12-year veteran of the House still voted against 2279. He also voted against a similar bill in 2009 and would have in 2013, had the proposal not died in the Senate before a House vote.

He would not say who told him he would be targeted or name the lawmaker who is said to have mentioned it. Also, he couldn’t recall the day he was informed of the alleged retaliation threat.

As of Monday, Boehning said he hadn’t talked to legislative leaders about the alleged threat and wouldn’t identify who he thinks is involved without doing that first. Though there is no binding ethics code for North Dakota legislators, he said there could be ramifications and “this isn’t something I take lightly.”

Boehning said he voted against the discrimination measure because he doesn’t think his constituents in south Fargo support it.