Controversial Nondiscrimination Bill In Wyoming House
Supporters of House BIll 135 in the Wyoming Legislature say it protects religious people from being discriminated against because of their beliefs.
Opponents say the bill, which is called the Government Nondiscrimination Act, should really be called the "Government Discrimination Bill."
The bill is co-sponsored by several Republican lawmakers, including Representatives Nathan Winters, Cheryl Steinmetz and Sue Wilson and Senators Curt Meier and Paul Barnard. The bill includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the government of this state shall not take any discriminatory action against a person, wholly or partially on the basis that the person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that:
(i) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one (1) man and one (1) woman;
(ii) That "man" and "woman" mean an individual's biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at the time of birth.
The bill goes on to say that people cannot be "discriminated against" for holding those beliefs.
It specifically prohibits actions such as withholding government benefits or licensing, government contracts, imposing tax penalties and a range of other actions. The bill includes corporations and business partnerships as being covered by the act. Hospitals and nursing homes, however, are not covered.
Supporters of the bill say it protects the rights of religious people to practice their beliefs free from government interference.
Opponents argue it is really a thinly-veiled license to discriminate against LGBTQ people and essentially ties the government's hands in efforts to combat such discrimination.
The bill has been introduced to the House Judiciary Committee.