North Dakota Rep. Dwight Kiefert became famous in 2015 for calling gay people “METALLY [sic] ILL” in a Facebook post reacting to the legalization of same-sex marriage.
The Republican from Valley City told the Fargo Forum at the time that “while he leans toward the belief that homosexuality is a mental illness, he is not sure because he is neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist.”
Homosexuality is not a mental illness.
Yesterday Kiefert attended a committee meeting at the state Capitol to hear testimony about House Bill 1386, which would ban discrimination against gay people.
It is the fourth time such a bill has been considered by the state Legislature. It has been voted down the past three times.
During testimony, Fargo resident Bernie Erickson, who is gay and married, showed the panel of legislators a poster-sized image of Kiefert’s 2015 Facebook rant.
“This next one that comes up is going to be very awkward,” Erickson said. “This is a lawmakers’ response to the marriage equality bill.”
Erickson read from the post as Kiefert sat right there listening.
Erickson then said, “Mental illness is a not a character flaw, mental illness if a very serious and debilitating condition that affects a lot of people. And furthermore being gay is not a character flaw, nor a debilitating condition — but these lawmakers send this message over and over again.”
Asked for comment, Kiefert told a Forum reporter, “Do the research,” and declined to say more.