Green River Star -

Letter: Wyoming risks losing Equality State name

 


Dear Editor,

Wyoming entered the United States as The Equality State just over a hundred years ago, becoming the first state to recognize women’s right to vote. That, however, was the last fight we dared for equality. A few years ago we found ourselves in the world spotlight when a young gay man was beaten and left to die on a fence.  We were mortified and began a slow change in acceptance of sexual identity outside of the cultural norm. We chose not to fight the district court ruling that gays could marry and accepted their equal right to marry whomever they wish.

Now, though, a bill is being pushed through our legislature which would allow anyone to discriminate against gay couples because of “religious” beliefs. The bill is very similar to the ones which were passed in Indiana and North Carolina which have cost both states dearly in revenues. Businesses have chosen to move rather than subject their diverse workforce to such blatant discrimination and conferences have changed venues. Can Wyoming, with it’s shrinking revenue base, afford a boycott from the tourist industry? Can we afford to lose any employers?

We are The Equality State. We should proudly respect the rights of others to hold the beliefs of their choice, we should serve each other no matter what faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. We should not allow people to discriminate under the false argument of “religious freedom.” Bigotry cannot be condoned for any reason. This bill is a mere re-working of the specious arguments white folks used back in the 1960s to continue their refusal to serve black people - their God didn’t allow mixing of the races.  Now the excuse is “My God says marriage is only between a man and a woman” to justify bigotry.

Equality means equality. There is no way to justify unequal treatment. None. Especially not in a state that proudly claims to be The Equality State.

Please call your representative to let them know you won’t allow Wyoming to be the laughing stock of the nation by passing this ode to inequality.

Marci Shaver

Torrington

 

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