On Thursday last week, Wyoming’s state legislature withdrew House Bill 135. HB135 would have allowed businesses, state and local governments to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The bill would also have eliminated Laramie’s 2015 LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinance. Had the bill been allowed to go to the floor, it could have been among the worst religious exemption bills in the country.

Wyoming residents publicly decried the bill’s hateful, unconstitutional rhetoric, directly leading to the bill’s withdrawal. Despite the bill’s name “Government Non-Discrimination Act,” LGBTQ Wyomingites made clear the bill’s sole purpose was to discriminate against LGBTQ people. Rep. Cheri Steinmetz (R-Lingle), the main sponsor, withdrew HB135 citing the need for more discussion.

It is a rare victory for a legislature to completely withdraw a religious exemption bill.

In a message to supporters on Thursday, Wyoming Equality Volunteer Coordinator Shayna Alexander said: “Today’s decision to kill HB135 is a direct result of everything you’ve done to build this movement into one of the largest grassroots efforts Wyoming has ever seen.”

Equality Federation applauds Wyoming Equality on their incredible victory. We look forward to the swift passage of Wyoming’s ENDA bill, SF153, which would provide workplace protections for LGBTQ workers. Wyoming has not seen many anti LGBTQ bills in recent years and we hope this bill’s short life means the trend will continue.

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Mel King

Mel King is the Development and Operations Manager for Equality Federation, the national strategic partner to state-based organizations working to win equality in the communities we call home. In this role, he manages the individual giving program and the donor database, as well as operations for the communications department and internal systems. He also serves as the board liaison.

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