CHEYENNE, Wyoming — Historic progress was made this week in the movement for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality in Wyoming as two pro-equality bills were passed by legislative committees. Legislation to allow same-sex couples all the state rights and responsibilities passed the House Corporations Committee on Monday by a vote of 7 to 2, with 5 republicans and 2 democrats voting for the bill. Yesterday, legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodation passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 4 to 1, with 3 republican Senators and 1 democratic Senator voting in favor.
Although the legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation failed in the Wyoming Senate by a vote of 13 to 17 and the domestic partnership bill was defeated in the Wyoming House yesterday by a vote of 25 to 34, these two bills marked the first time that any pro equality bill has advanced to either body for a floor vote and marks a tremendous shift in the direction of equality. In the last legislative session, a constitutional amendment to prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriages failed by just one vote.
“This year, rather than playing defense we played offense and made historic progress,” said Wyoming Equality Chair Jeran Artery. “To witness the advancement we made this year is tremendous. In the most Republican Legislature in the Nation, we passed both bills through committee with strong bipartisan support, demonstrating that equality is not a partisan issue. While heartbroken by the defeat of the bills, the fact that they passed committee and reached a floor vote is a giant step forward on the road to equality. We at Wyoming Equality and our allies will not rest until all people in our state are protected from discrimination.”
The advancement of both bills has spurred the commitment of all those fighting for equality in Wyoming to make every effort to ensure victory in the next legislation session. Artery reiterated this promise and said that Wyoming Equality will continue to work with its friends and allies to get these laws on the books.
“Families and individuals across Wyoming need these basic legal protections—we will continue to do the hard work needed until these bills are enacted,” Artery said. “Every person deserves to be treated and judged according to merit and performance—not prejudice.”
Artery also expressed his deep appreciation for all of the allies who worked with Wyoming Equality and the national organizations that supported this effort, including the work of the Human Rights Campaign and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
About Wyoming Equality
Wyoming Equality seeks to enhance the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in the Equality State by providing: Education, Information, Activities, Support, a Networking System, and an Advocacy System for people impacted by gender and sexual orientation issues.
[From a News Release]