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    Equal Act ends discrimination against LGBTQ workers; Marriage language clean-up bill introduced

    Wyoming Equality, the only statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization in Wyoming, released the following statement on HB 230 and HB 289.

    HB 230

    (www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0230)

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    Wyoming State Representative Dan Zwonitzer has introduced a bill that would protect LGBTQ workers from discrimination in the workplace. HB 230 or the “Equal” Act addresses the significant gap in protections for workers seeking to provide for their families without fear of being unfairly fired for their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.


    Wyoming Equality Chair Kenneth Ingram released the following statement:

    “Given attempts to roll back LGBTQ civil rights and federal workers in Wyoming having gone so long without a paycheck, the need for this legislation is greater than ever. While Jackson and Laramie have nondiscrimination protections, the daily reality remains that LGBTQ people across much of the state can still be fired, evicted, or denied service because of who they are and whom they love.

    The Equal Act seeks to protect workers and in doing so – without one dollar of government money spent on economic development. Wyoming can make itself more competitive for attracting and retaining talented workers for our expanding workforce, especially in the technology sector. It is our sincere hope the Equal Act will solidify that when every Wyomingite is given the opportunity to work hard and earn a living, our state succeeds. Employees should be evaluated on whether they get the job done. No more, no less.”

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    Cheyenne, Gillette, Sheridan, and Casper in recent years have passed resolutions calling on the state to pass a comprehensive nondiscrimination protections law – including protections in the workplace. Earlier this month, Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr expanded the city’s nondiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity protections for city employees. Utah, Colorado, and 17 other states have already enacted laws protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, and several states have introduced similar legislation.

    HB 289
    (www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0289)

    HB 289, sponsored by Representative Cathy Connolly, brings Wyoming statutory law into line with the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision granting LGBTQ couples the freedom to marry. References to “husband” and “wife” would be replaced with gender-neutral language such as “spouse” to recognize all married couples throughout Wyoming code.

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    “Almost four years ago, the US Supreme Court made the freedom to marry the law of the land. It’s time our state statutes reflected the reality that LGBTQ couples work, marry, and raise their children here,” said Chair Ingram. “We’re asking our lawmakers to acknowledge in our state code that our families are Wyoming families, too.”

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