LGBTQ Committee Offers Recommendations to Casper City Council
The Casper city council on Tuesday night listened to recommendations by the LGBTQ advisory committee on making Casper a safer place.
The committee, which was established last year to look into what the city could do to better address issues raised by community members, offered two recommendations to city council.
One recommendation was to create a ordinance against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual preference, similar to what has been done in Laramie and Jackson, and the other recommendation is a program for businesses to put stickers in their windows signifying their support for the LGBTQ community.
Kody Allen-Sambrano, one of the members of the committee, said the sticker program would help bolster the relationship between the LGBTQ community and police department.
Allen-Sambrano said when the program was implemented in Seattle, the city saw a large increase action taken by police to address bias related crimes, and would only cost the city $3 per sticker.
Several council members, including Amber Pollock, vice mayor Ray Pacheco, and mayor Steve Freel, who have attended several LGBTQ committee meetings, voiced their support of the recommendations and decried Wyoming for being one of three states that does not have a hate crimes law.
Other members, such as council members Steve Cathey and Bruce Knell, had some reservations about the recommendations.
Cathey said the city should not treat certain crimes differently based on the identity of the victim and, quoting Martin Luther King, that they should be judging people based on their character instead of other factors.
Knell, along with council member Lisa Engebretsen, both brought up their worries related to letting men entering women's bathrooms because they identify as woman.
Council member Khrystyn Lutz interjected with a point of order to remind the council the discussion is about the recommendations brought forward by the committee and not bathrooms.
The city council ended up moving forward with additional discussions that Carter Napier, the city manager, would have to address how and in what way the city could implement the recommendations.
The council voted unanimously to look into the sticker program, however the non-discriminations ordinance passed with Cathey voting against.
Knell also asked, following the vote, to come to a future LGBTQ committee meeting to provide his perspective and to get insight into an issue he said he is unfamiliar with.