As Wyoming Lawmakers Withdraw Bill, Republican Governor Dissuades Focus on Anti-LGBT LegislationBy Adam Polaski • January 27, 2017 • 10:38 am
Great news this week in Wyoming, where lawmakers have announced plans to withdraw House Bill 135, an anti-LGBT bill. Rep. Cheri Steinmetz, Rep. Sue Wilson and Rep. Nathan Winters announced their plans to withdraw the legislation from consideration on Thursday, January 27.
The bill purported to protect religious freedom – but in reality, it is designed to allow any individual, business, or organization to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT Wyomingites. It also would have prevented local governments from enforcing LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances.
Wyoming Equality, the statewide organization that worked to defeat the bill, posted to Facebook shortly after: “You did it! Thanks to your calls, your letters, your outcry, HB 135 is dead. But the fight isn’t over, we need you more than ever to fight these bills and support the good ones.”
This week Republican Governor Matt Mead also spoke out against the bill – and other efforts to discriminate against LGBT people in Wyoming. He said anti-LGBT bills like these are distractions, saying:
“Wyoming always wants to be recognized as a state that respects the rights of all people, gay and transgender, (and) respects the religious liberties and rights of people. We should focus on education, we should focus on ‘are we taking care of our seniors’ or ‘what are we doing on roads.’ These issues that we’re talking about, they tend to take a tremendous amount of time, cause a lot of angst, and as you’ve seen them come up before they generally don’t reach the end anyway. If you’re spending five days on that, that’s five days we’re spending trying to figure out how to make sure we have a great education system in our state.”
Governor Mead is the latest Republican governor to express disapproval of anti-LGBT legislation, particularly laws that restrict restroom access for transgender people. In recent weeks, Governor Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas, Governor Dennis Daugaard in South Dakota, and Governor Matt Bevin in Kentucky have said there’s no need for anti-transgender legislation like this.
Stay up to date with all of the bills filed this legislative session with the Freedom for All Americans Legislative Tracker.