Non-Discrimination Bill Expected In 2019 Wyoming Legislature
An incoming member of the Wyoming House of Representatives says she expects a non-discrimination bill to protect Wyoming LGBTQ residents to be proposed in the upcoming session of the Wyoming Legislature.
Sara Burlingame (D-Laramie County) was elected in November as a Democrat and is also Executive Director of Wyoming Equality. Burlingame says she has heard such a bill will come up in the 2019 Wyoming Legislature, although at last report such a bill had not been formally filed with the Wyoming Legislative Service Office [LSO].
The 2019 session will convene next week, but lawmakers have until late January to file bills for consideration. Several non-discrimination bills have been considered by the legislature in recent years, but so far none has won final approval.
Supporters of a statewide non-discrimination law say such a bill is needed to protect LGBTQ people from employment and housing discrimination. Burlingame says the lack of such a law also hurts Wyoming's ability to lure new businesses to the state and makes people think of Wyoming residents as backward and bigoted.
Opponents of such legislation say discrimination is already prohibited under federal law and argue there is no evidence that LGBTQ people are facing discrimination in Wyoming. Some opponents also say they are concerned that such a law would infringe on religious freedom and create a ''protected class" of people with special rights.
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr in 2018 vowed to lobby the legislature during the upcoming session in favor of a statewide non-discrimination law.