North Dakota lawmaker ‘outed’ after voting against gay rights bill

Randy Boehning, a Republican, confirms he is gay after allegations he uses a gay dating app.

Rep. Randy Boehning, a North Dakota Republican state lawmaker, confirmed he is gay after being outed for using the gay dating app Grindr. Boehning was outed after voting against a gay rights bill. (legis.nd.gov)

FARGO, N.D. (MEDIA GENERAL) — A North Dakota state representative reportedly was outed as gay after he voted against a gay rights bill.

The Forum, a Fargo, North Dakota news outlet, first reported the story Monday night after being contacted by Dustin Smith, a 21-year-old from Bismarck, North Dakota, who had connected with state Rep. Randy Boehning through a gay dating smartphone app called Grindr.

Boehning, a Republican who represents the 27th district of the state, confirmed that he is gay, and alleged that another lawmaker had promised to out him if he voted against the bill, according to The Forum.

Boehning would not identify the lawmaker who allegedly targeted him but said, “This isn’t something I take lightly.”

Boehning confirmed that he used Grindr and has used the app to connect with other men and exchange explicit images, including connecting with Smith. Smith said he came forward because he thought it was hypocritical for a gay man to vote against a bill granting gay people legal protections against discrimination.

“How can you discriminate against the person you’re trying to pick up?” Smith told The Forum.

A state House representative for 12 years, Boehning said there are people who knew he was gay, but many of his family members and friends did not. According to The Forum, he said he also is attracted to women and he is relieved to be out.

“The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted,” he said. “I have to confront it at some point.”

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